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India offers low-cost technology to Africa

November 03, 2004 13:31 IST

India made its debut at the Asia-Africa Trade and Investment Conference in Tokyo with an offer of appropriate technologies to Africa for development and growth of its small and medium enterprises.

But the highlight of the conference, that ended on Tuesday, was the signing of a joint policy framework that undertook to establish a channel for networking public and private sectors in the two continents and increase investment and trade between them.

India's representative, Dinesh K Patnaik, deputy secretary in the external affairs ministry, said in his presentation that India's development model after Independence encouraged the use of low capital investment, resources available in the immediate neighbourhood and technologies that were appropriate.

This model, Patnaik said, had helped India create a vibrant SME sector that accounted for 40 per cent of its gross national product and 45 per cent of its total exports.

A few of the technologies Patnaik offered to Africa were for bee keeping and honey products (an investment of $100 can yield a return of $300 a year), making fibre from wild grass and making cups and plates from leaves.

The joint policy framework, signed between the Tokyo International Conference for African Development and the New Partnership for Africa's Development, laid emphasis on public-private partnership to achieve the twin goals of growth and poverty reduction.

It urged all participant countries to demonstrate political commitment to ensure political, economic and social stability, and good governance and transparency to gain the confidence of the private enterprises. There was also stress on the implementation of sound macro-economic management, enforcement of the rule of law and a stable business environment.

The framework also underlined the need to focus on infrastructure development, human resources development, and institution building of economic and social systems as well as financial markets and enhance economic efficiencies to reduce transaction costs of private business activities.

The two-day conference laid a lot of emphasis on the role of the governments to improve their countries to make them conducive to more trade and investment.

In particular, the role of the state in ensuring stability and policy predictability, commitment to strategy, promotion of the country's attractiveness from the investment point of view, creating a strong business environment, careful privatisation and more investment in education, capacity building and technology acquisition.

An official of the Japanese government admitted that the participation of representatives from the private enterprises from Asia and Africa could have been better and that the Nigerian government's proposal to create a new Japan-Africa investment centre would be considered favourably.

The initiatives outlined at the conference would be pursued with greater vigour at the Asia-Africa Summit to be held at Bandung (Indonesia) in April 2005, he added.

Tech support

  • India has offered technology to Africa for development and growth of its small and medium enterprises
  • These include technology for bee keeping and honey products, making fibre from grass and making cups and plates from leaves
  • The offer was made at the Asia-Africa Trade and Investment Conference, which ended in Tokyo today
  • A joint policy framework was inked at the meeting. It seeks to establish a channel for networking public and private sectors in Asia and Africa, and increase investment and trade between the continents
A K Bhattacharya in Tokyo