By Ahmedabad (The Hindu Business Insider)

Driven by infrastructure and manufacturing sectors, the bilateral trade between India and Africa is expected to touch US $ 100 billion in the next two years, as the continent advances towards industrialization, informed a top official of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

“In 2005-06 the total bilateral trade between India and Africa stood at US $ 11.7 billion, which has reached to US $ 56.9 billion by 2015-16. Now we expect the bilateral trade to exceed US $ 100 billion in the next two years, helped by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push for India-Africa partnership,” said Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, President, African Development Bank ahead of the 5-day annual meeting of the AfDB Group at Mahatma Mandir.

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Adesina further mentioned that sectors such as power, phrama, information-communication technology (ICT) along with services sector will contribute to the doubling of the bilateral trade with India.

“AfDB is heavily investing in building infrastructure in Africa to building connectivity between the coastal countries and land-locked countries. We are investing in ports and rails. India has an expertise in these infrastructure,” said Adesina adding that the AfDB will also encourage investment in the solar sector – through its Energy Inclusion fund with a fund size of US $ 500 million to provide finance to the small and medium enterprises in the off-grid power renewable energy sector.

“That fund will invest anything between US $ 3-30 million dollars in companies that are doing renewable energy generation anything below 30 MW. Africa has the potential to generate 11 terawatt of solar power,” added Adesina.

Electricity sector

African region has set its focus on electrification with a target to connect about 130 million people to the power grid.

“Africa can’t develop in the dark. Africa is absolutely tired of being in dark. So that’s why AfDB is investing $ 12 billion in the electricity sector in next 5 years and by 2025, we will have invested 34 billion dollars of our money in the power and energy sector,” said Adesina.

During its 5-day annual meeting the bankers of the African nations will have discussions on the development agenda and increasing engagement with India on various economic and financial front.

Value addition

“We want to work with India on the areas of processing and value addition so that Africa doesn’t only remain a raw material exporter, but also add value to the products that it produces like petroleum, precious stones and agricultural produces,” he said.

Adesina further mentioned that AfDB will also explore a possibility to engage with Indian companies and cultivators to utilise the uncultivated land in Africa, which has nearly 65 per cent of the uncultivated arable land in the world. For the purpose, Africa will look for association for farm technology such as drip irrigation, mechanisation besides processing.