Joint Statement Adopted at the 2nd India-Africa Business Council Meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa
1 October 2013
1. The members of the Africa-India Business Council, representing the voice of industry in Africa and India met today in Johannesburg, South Africa, for the 2nd meeting of Africa-India Business Council to deliberate, consolidate and explore mutually beneficial economic engagement between the two sides.
2. The business council was led by Dr Bright Chunga, Acting Co-Chair, AIBC from Africa and Mr Sunil Bharti Mittal, Co-Chair AIBC from India. The meeting was attended by leading industry and institutions from Africa and India.
3. The business leaders from both sides expressed satisfaction on the deepening and comprehensive politico-socio-economic relations between Africa and India. As long-standing strategic partners in progress of each other, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to work together with a balanced and rewarding approach, bearing in mind each other’s development priorities, based on common shared values.
4. The business council, with members representing industry of both sides, discussed the possible partnerships at bilateral, regional and continental level. The council deliberated on the issues that are bottlenecks in achieving the true potential of Africa–India partnership and suggested the possible mechanisms to address the same. The members felt that such mechanisms will inter alia, strengthen economic cooperation and facilitate a coordinated approach to undertake initiatives to steer economic growth in the current challenging times.
5. While the trade and investment relations between Africa and India have helped the two sides in their socio-economic capacity building, the members realize that with the economic developments around the globe, it is time to build upon the positive achievements and support each other in becoming more self-reliant and economically vibrant.
6. The members recognized that India and Africa have undergone significant economic transformation, in particular over the last decades. Linked by history and civilizations, India and Africa have been close allies and this should continue.
7. The Council took note of the progress made since its first meeting held in March 2012 at New Delhi, India and appreciated that the Africa-India engagements have intensified with substantial progress achieved across the board on different areas.
8. The members noted that 5 working groups have been constituted to explore and promote the agenda of the business council. It was felt that increased cooperation in the focus sectors of 5 working groups has the potential to provide a new thrust to bilateral trade, investment and economic cooperation.
9. The members of the 5 working groups discussed their agenda for the coming year and recommended concrete action plan to promote engagements at bilateral, sub-regional and pan-Africa level to further trade, investment, technology transfer, skills development, capacity building, SME development etc.
10. The members also took note of the various activities like setting up of country desks, developing business guides, developing business directories, regularly organizing roundtables with the relevant stakeholders in India and Africa.
11. The members of the council strongly felt that visa and connectivity are two important aspects that have to be worked upon on priority to deepen the engagement between both sides.
12. The members emphasized that considering the importance that both sides hold for each other the governments should consider providing long term (1-2 year) multiple entry visa to bonafide businessmen on the recommendation of the apex chambers of commerce and industry of India and recognized private sector bodies in Africa.
13. The members would recommend government/s of both sides to make renewed efforts to bring about greater connectivity between India and Africa especially by air and sea.
14. The Council decided to share the data on investments between India and Africa on a half yearly basis. This shall be done by DIPP from Indian side and AUC from Africa.
15. Recognising the need for promoting African industrialization, the members agreed to explore opportunities for value addition at source in their agenda for investment cooperation.
16. The Council members agreed to interact regularly for a focused and result oriented plan of action under the umbrella of the working groups.
17. The Africa-India Business Council members also interacted with the Trade Ministers from Africa and India and discussed with them the shared vision of industry on both sides. They assured the policy makers their full support in achieving the vision that the leaders have set for mutual growth and also sought the support of the governments to achieve the true potential for economic growth.
18. Supplementing on-going and future programmes of India and Africa at the bilateral, regional and other levels, the Africa-India Business Council members agreed to meet alongside the next Africa-India Trade Ministers meeting in India.
19. AIBC members also agreed Africa related issues and initiatives should be flagged to the AUC which in turn will refer them to RECs and Member States respectively.