Editor’s Note: This article was written by Shane Danaher for the Sourcing Journal and it is republished on the WRAP blog with the author’s permission.
At a meeting last week between economic ministers and industry leaders from both India and a variety of African nations, it was announced that India and Africa would strive to reach $90bn in bilateral trade by the year 2015. In 2011, bilateral trade between the two stood at a $60bn.
A primary beneficiary of this policy will be the Indian textile industry, which has become increasingly reliant on African cotton during the past seven years. Though African cotton production has slackened since 2002, the continent still produces roughly 8% (5.7-million bales in 2011) of the world’s overall supply of cotton. Industry watchers have speculated that the continent is capable of producing much more cotton, provided small shareholder farmers are able to adopt more modern farming techniques, and perform their work in an environment free from the disruptions of draught, political instability and international market volatility.
India is certainly betting on Africa’s continued success in the cotton market. Participants in last week’s economic forum also announced the creation of an India-Africa Business Council (IABC) that will solidify the trading partnership between the two regions in coming years. The first IABC is to be chaired on the Indian side by Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of the Bharti Group, and on the African side by Mr. Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive of the Dangote Group, a Nigerian business conglomerate with interests that range as far afield as real estate acquisitions and pasta manufacturing.
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