Worried over declining exports, the Indian commerce ministry has prepared a strategy to boost shipments to Africa and has identified engineering as a major sector for export to several nations of that continent. The Indian Department of Commerce will now hold consultations with Ambassadors and High Commissioners of major African nations and industry stakeholders to implement that strategy, an official said. At a time of global demand slowdown, African nations including South Africa and Nigeria, are major export destinations for India, he said.
“The ministry has identified several sectors as part of the strategy and engineering including agriculture and farm equipment have emerged as a major one,” the official said, adding that the ministry is also engaged with the Engineering Export Promotion Council for the implementation of the strategy. Exporters body Federation of Indian Export organizations (FIEO) too said that Africa is ideally suited for engineering exports.
“Indian farm and agriculture equipment are competitive as compared to western products. There are huge tracts of land in Africa and agriculture is the growing sector there. There is good demand for tractors and also automobiles in African countries like Nigeria and South Africa,” FIEO Director General Ajay Sahai said.
The two-way commerce between India and Africa is about USD 75 billion. India’s exports contracted for the 13th month in a row, dipping about 15% in December to USD 22.2 billion due to steep decline in engineering and petroleum shipments. The total exports in 2015-16 will thus be lower than the previous fiscal’s figure of USD 310.5 billion. Engineering accounts for about 25% of the country’s total exports in 2014-15. Engineering exports slipped 16% to USD 5.8 billion in December.