ACCRA (GHANA): India looks to double the trade with West African nations to $ 40 billion by 2015, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said today.
Sharma, who is leading a 200-member Ficci delegation here for 'India Show', said the West African region holds huge potential for Indian businessmen.
"Currently the trade between India and West African region stood at $ 20 billion. I would ask chambers and industries to work towards taking this number to $ 40 billion by 2015. This is our target. This is my considered view that it is doable," he said here while inaugurating the show.
He said that main areas for cooperation include oil and gas, education, health-care, life sciences, pharmaceuticals, small and medium enterprises and infrastructure.
The minister said that Indian corporates are gradually increasing their presence in this region. The companies which have presence in the west African nations include Ashok Leyland, Airtel, Tata and Mahindra & Mahindra.
"India will continue to share its technology, expertise and knowledge with this region and Africa as a whole," he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Ghana Trade, Industry and Private Sector Development Hannah Tetteh said that this is the right time to invest in west African region and particularly in Ghana.
"Last year, our economic growth was about 14 per cent. We are looking investments in sectors like infrastructure and services. Your investments in Ghana will continue to be profitable," Tetteh said.
She said that vast opportunities for growth and development exists in this region.
Leader of Indian business delegation Vikramjit Singh Sahney said that west African nations are growing at a rate of about 4.5 per cent despite the global economic uncertainties.
"Vast natural resources are present here," he added. The trade between India and Ghana would reach $ 1 billion by 2013 from $ 818 million in 2010-11.
Also, India has set a bilateral trade target of $ 90 billion with Africa by 2015 from over $ 50 billion at present.
As the US and Europe are struggling to come out from the economic crisis, Indian government has asked businessmen and traders to explore Africa. As part of market diversification, the government has announced several incentives for exporters to explore Africa.
Further, EximBank India had signed an MoU with its African counterpart EcoBank to promote and finance trade and investment flows.