13-fold rise in India's trade with East Africa

Trade between India and the East African Community (EAC) has risen 13-fold, from $490.8 million in 2002 to $6.6 billion in 2012, a study by India’s Exim Bank showed.

The bank, which studied India’s trade and investment potentials in the region, said, “India’s trade and investment relations with the EAC region have strengthened in recent years, and present opportunities to further enhance bilateral commercial relations.”

It said India’s exports to the EAC countries have risen significantly by 16-fold from $369.3 million in 2002 to touch $5.9 billion in 2012, adding that “the share of the EAC countries in India’s total exports to Africa has risen from 12.2 percent in 2002 to a healthy 21.7 percent in 2012″.

“India’s imports from the EAC region have also risen over five-fold from $121.5 million in 2002 to $624.1 million in 2012, accounting for 1.5 percent of India’s total imports from Africa,” it added.

The report, which was released in the Rwandan capital Kigali last month, said the EAC region recorded robust economic performances in recent years, with a robust growth of 5.3 percent in 2012.

“Exports of the EAC have increased to $13.8 billion in 2012 from $2.8 billion in 2002, while imports have also witnessed almost six-fold increase to $35.4 billion in 2012 from $6.1 billion in 2002,” it said.

Global trade of EAC increased over five-fold from $8.9 billion in 2002 to $49.3 billion in 2012, the study said, adding that “potential items for India’s exports to the EAC region would include, among others, petroleum products, machinery and instruments”.

Others are electrical and electronic equipment, vehicles other than railway, and cereals, animal, vegetable fats and oils, iron and steel, as well as plastics.

The study has also delineated broad strategies and recommendations to enhance India’s commercial relations with the EAC region, which include cooperation in key sectors, including transport-related infrastructure, and meeting power and energy requirements of the EAC.

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