New Delhi: India has expressed interest in negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA) with Africa with an aim to boost economic ties between the two regions. This was stated by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal during his interaction with fifteen ambassadors from several countries of the Africa region on Thursday.
"India is open to FTA negotiations bilaterally or individually with African countries or Africa as a whole," he said. India would act as a trusted partner to expand trade, commerce, business, investment and opportunities with Africa, he said.
In such agreements, two or more trading partners either significantly reduce or eliminate customs duties on maximum number of goods traded between them. Besides, they ease norms for promoting trade in services and attract investments. The 15 ambassadors are from countries, including Algeria, Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Republic of Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Morocco, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
The African continent presents vast opportunities for Indian businesses, with its rapidly growing population, emerging middle class, and abundant natural resources. Through increased trade and investment, both regions can benefit from each other's strengths and expertise, fostering inclusive growth and job creation. The two-way trade between the regions stood at over USD 90 billion.