South Africa working hard to re-introduce direct flight to India
“The High Commission of South Africa in New Delhi and the Consulate General in Mumbai are committed to support the endeavour of WTC Mumbai in organizing the proposed India-Africa Conclave as
best as we can. This Conclave is proposed at an exciting time of the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area, which harmonizes market of 55 African countries and which will
lift 30 million Africans out of extreme poverty,” said H.E. Mr. Sbu Ndebele, High Commissioner of South Africa to India at an interactive meeting organized by WTC Mumbai.
H.E. Mr. Ndebele pointed out that the Conclave can be a platform to discuss India-Africa partnership in renewable energy, green hydrogen, infrastructure and other future areas.
Speaking about India-South Africa relations, the High Commissioner remarked, “The main focus of my visit is to strengthen relations between South Africa and Maharashtra as the financial and commercial capital of India. The vibrancy and energy of Mumbai is omnipresent and I can identify why it is called the “City of Dreams” and “Gateway to India”. I invite Indian companies to avail of our government support to use South Africa as their regional headquarter in the African continent. We are also working hard to re-introduce direct flight between India and South Africa.”
H.E. Mr. Ndebele also informed that Indian mangoes will soon be making their way to South Africa and South African exporters of pears and apples will soon benefit formally from in-transit cold treatment for their products. India has issued WTO notification for in-transit cold treatment for pears and apples.
He further pointed out, “India and South Africa have each identified two other fruits for which we are seeking market access, with work progressing smoothly. We hope to be able to share more news on this towards the end of the year. We are very excited to note that South African exports of apples grew roughly 300% to reach 185,000 cartons from 2015 to 2020. And then a meteoric rise in the last two years, with an increase of a whopping 500% in just 18 months crossing the critical milestone of a million cartons for the first time.”
In her remarks, Ms. Andrea Kuhn, Consul General, Consulate General of the Rep. of South Africa, Mumbai pointed out, “We appreciate the proposal of WTC Mumbai to organize India-Africa Conclave. Every big journey begins with small steps. We feel this proposed Conclave will be a voice of Africa, which is missing in Mumbai. This Conclave will shape our future as Africa and Asia are the emerging epicenters of economic growth. I am happy to note that this Conclave will discuss partnership in MSMEs, youth development, gender and other critical areas of cooperation.”
Earlier in his welcome remarks, Dr. Vijay Kalantri, Chairman, MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai pointed out, “India and Africa have many areas of common interest. WTC Mumbai and AIAI propose to organize India-Africa Conclave jointly with diplomatic missions of Africa in India and Government of India every alternate year. There is immense scope for collaboration in mining, agro-processing, engineering, auto-components, textile and other sectors. The Conclave will also discuss possibility of trilateral partnership among Japan, India and Africa to optimize each other’s strength in surplus capital, skilled manpower and natural resource endowments.”
Dr. Kalantri remarked that currently Africa is the fourth largest trade partner of India and the Conclave will enhance bilateral trade volume to make Africa the largest trade partner of India.
Presenting the WTC Mumbai’s proposal to organize India-Africa Conclave, Ms. Rupa Naik, Executive Director, MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai remarked, “The objective of this proposed Conclave is to create a forum for dialogue in the commercial capital of India on how India can support Africa’s Agenda 2063. This will be the first of its kind Conclave that will focus on promoting gender equality, healthcare, education, clean energy, youth development and other areas of sustainable development goals. WTC Mumbai plans to partner with ITC Geneva, WTO, UNCTAD and WTCs in Africa and India for this Conclave.”
Ms. Naik further added, “The Conclave will promote inclusive and sustainable development in Africa by creating a networking platform for MSMEs, women entrepreneurs, start-up enterprises, self-help groups, social enterprises, micro finance institutions and government agencies. The Conclave will promote trade, investment, tourism and education opportunities in various economic blocs in Africa. It will also promote cultural exchange and exhibition of indigenous handicrafts, weaves, fashion and traditional products of Africa. The Conclave will also feature B2B meetings, field visit to MSME clusters and award ceremony, besides engaging panel sessions.”
Capt. Somesh Batra, Vice Chairman, MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai proposed vote of thanks for the event.
The event was attended by Mr. Dean Hoff, Consul- Economic, Consulate General of the Republic of South Africa, Mr. Seewraj Nundlall, Counsellor (Investment and Trade), Economic Development Board, Mauritius, Mr. Premal Lokhandwala, Honorary Consul, Consulate of Ghana and other members of consular corps representing different African countries.