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Indian expertise on offer to East Africa

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

East African Business Week / By John Sambo

Several small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in East Africa will benefit from a new move by the Geneva-based International Trade centre (ITC) to use Indian expertise improve their businesses.

ITC says the Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa (SITA) project, will boost trade and investment between Indian and East African businesses through growth in key sectors.

“SITA is about supporting south-south trade and investment links. It is also about intelligently blending development aid with private sector support to generate new economic opportunities. East African businesses will be introduced and matched with potential Indian partners, who they can work with to produce competitive products and services,” Arancha González, the ITC Executive Director said last week.

This south-south trade and investment promotion project is the result of several rounds of talks between representatives of the business community, government and international organizations from India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.

González officially launched the project in New Delhi with Sumanta Chaudhuri, Joint Secretary of the Indian Department of Commerce; Yaduvendra Mathur, Chairman and Managing Director of the Export-Import Bank of India; and Sameer Munjal, Vice Chairman of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Haryana State Council.

The aim is to equip East African businesses with the means to produce high-quality products and services that meet the demands of the Indian market and beyond.

The SITA objectives will be achieved by enabling access to India’s market and facilitating investment and transfer of Indian knowledge, expertise and technology to East Africa by promoting public-private dialogue and partnerships; improving capacities of East African companies and creating business linkages.

González said an Indian-African partnership underpinned by jugaad will result in opportunities arising from adversity: the ability to do more with less; to think and act flexibly to find simple solutions for increasingly complex problems; and most of all, practicality that helps eliminate complexity.’

Jugaad is a colloquial Hindi-Urdu word that can mean an innovative fix or a simple work-around, used for solutions that bend rules, or a resource that can be used as such, or a person who can solve a complicated issue.

Despite an enormous untapped potential for trade expansion between India and Africa, data reveal that a limited number of products are currently being traded. India’s trade with Africa is concentrated in certain sectors and countries, and it is dominated by exports of primary commodities. While the potential for export diversification exists, it may not be realized without targeted intervention.

India is well-positioned as a partner to improve the productive and export capacities of African partner countries. India’s expertise can be leveraged to

The project targets growth in priority sectors, including essential oils; sunflower oil; business-process outsourcing and information-technology enabled services; leather; spices; cotton, textiles and apparel; coffee; pulses; and various emerging sectors in the five East African countries.