Notwithstanding the gloomy global economic environment, India [ Images ] and Africa on Monday revised upwards their bilateral trade target for 2015 to $100 billion.
The decision to revise the target by $10 was taken in New Delhi [ Images ] at the India-Africa Ministers Round Table conference chaired by Commerce, Industry & Textiles Anand Sharma.
He conveyed to the visiting ministers that despite the gloomy global environment, where there has been a contraction of trade, and with India's own trade contracting with major trading blocks, $100 billion trade by 2015 is achievable.
"We are upwardly revising the target to at least $100 billion by 2015. . .We may end up achieving it by the end of 2014 if we continue working together in the same spirit in which we have been working," said an official release quoting Sharma.
Trade between India and Africa totalled $70 billion in 2011-12.
The Indian investments in Africa are now close to $50 billion, Sharma said. He informed further that India has taken a decision to open dialogue with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the largest economic group in Africa.
A Joint Study Group for examining the feasibility of a Free Trade Agreement between India and COMESA has been set up.
Besides, the Preferential Trade Agreement talks with Southern African Customs Union countries are underway.
The developments made by India-Africa Business Council were also discussed.
Sharma expressed the hope that the new economic partnership will present India and the African countries with substantial opportunities to increase trade and investment activities, enhance market access and develop greater competitiveness by leveraging their respective strength.
He said India has approved expansion of the Technical Assistance Program on cotton for Africa to cover Mini-Mission III (development of Market yards) and Mini Mission IV (development of cotton ginning and pressing factories) to be implemented by Ministry of Textiles.
African countries were also asked to avail the facilities of the Duty Free Tariff Preference Scheme, announced by India for the Least Developed Countries.
Under the Scheme, India grants duty-free access on 85 per cent of tariff lines and preferential access on 9 per cent of tariff lines, covering 92.5 per cent of global exports of all LDCs.