By Moses Nosike
The Indian Government has expressed willingness to partner with Nigeria to promote trade relations between the two countries.
Assistant Secretary General of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Indutry (FICCI), Sheila Sudhakaran, saidÂ in Lagos that both the Indian government and investors are prepared to partner with Nigeria and other West African countries to promote trade.
She was speaking at a road show organised by the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) and Indiaâ€™s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, held at the Manufacturers Association of Nigeriaâ€™s (MAN) office at Ikeja, a prelude to next yearâ€™s economic forum between private investors from West Africa and their counterparts from India.
She said that Indian investors chose to partner with entrepreneurs from West Africa, to strengthen comprehensive economic engagement between India and the West African countries.
She continued that the key sectors, which the Indians seek to partner with Nigerians and other West African investors include: healthcare and pharmaceuticals; information and communication technology; infrastructure; including roads and railways, transport and construction; natural resources – non-oil; Afrifood and allied services; and power.
Director of Field Service (MAN), Joseph Ifejika, said the forum will offer Nigerian business owners the opportunity to meet their counterparts from India and discuss ways to improve their businesses.
Speaking at the event, Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mahesh Sachdev, said that Nigeria is Indiaâ€™s second largest trade aprtners and that according to indiaâ€™s data, the bilateral trade between the two countries is estimated at $10.2 billion.
He said despite the fact that Nigeriaâ€™s foreign trade feel significantly in 2008, the bilateral trade between India and Nigeria, during the period grew about 18.5 per cent, above 2007 levels despite the economic meltdown,â€ he said.
He further said that the trade volumes show that India consumers and the Nigerian consumers seem to have discovered each other and have their own reasons for preferring each otherâ€™s goods and services with disregard to the global economic down turn.â€
In addition to that, Lambert Bamba, ECOWASâ€™ Commissioner for Macroeconomic Policy, who was represented by Enobong Umoessien of the commissionâ€™s Business/Enterprse Promotion-Private Sector desk, said that the Indian government through the proposed economic forum plans to open a credit line for small business owners.
He said that the Indian government has agreed to open a credit line of $500 million for investors from West Africa.â€ Saying that the decision to partner with India in promoting West African trade was taken by the regionâ€™s leader after a summit of the President and heads of governments. At that summit he said that The West African leaders unanimously agreed to partner with India to promote the bilateral trade between the countries in the sub-region and with India.