The Southern African Development Community (SADC) and India have been called upon to take advantage of the emerging economic opportunities for the accelerated mutually beneficial trade, investment and development of India and the SADC Region.
The Executive Secretary of SADC, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, made the call on 1st March, 2021 during a Panel Discussion on India and Southern Africa: Emerging Economic Opportunities in the New Normal organised under ‘Namaskar Africa’ which is a flagship initiative of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) focusing on promoting India’s Economic Cooperation with different regions worldwide.
H.E. Dr Tax urged the Indian private sector to partner with Southern Africa, and take advantage of the new normal opportunities emerging from SADC industrialisation and market integration, and the expanded and integrated markets under the SADC Free Trade Area, as complemented by the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The SADC Executive Secretary called on the Southern Africa states and India to think outside the box, be innovative and embrace the new normal brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic by harnessing the demographic dividend of India and southern Africa through innovation, digital technology, and skills development, and investing in the youth for accelerated growth.
As one of the Panellists, H.E. Ambassador Dr. Godfrey Majoni Chipare, High Commissioner of Zimbabwe to India, said India has a unique role to play in the vaccine solidarity by supporting less developed countries to have access to global vaccines for COVID-19 under BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), a grouping of emerging economies addressing inequality of global governance.
H.E. Ambassador Dr Chipare urged the Indian business partners to tap into the opportunities availed by the SADC Vision 2050 and the Revised Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030 which cover, among others, Industrial Development and Market Integration; Infrastructure Development in Support of Regional Integration and Social and Human Capital Development.
H.E. Mr Sanjiv Kohli, High Commissioner of India to the United Republic of Tanzania, was also a Panellist, and said, drawing from the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic which caused disruption in the global supply chain, India and Southern African countries need to invest in affordable and appropriate technologies to help create resilient regional supply chains by supporting the development of local supply chains.
Earlier before the Panel Discussion, Mr Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General of FICCI; Dr Srikar Reddy, Joint Secretary for Africa in the Department of Commerce, Government of India; and Mr Rahul Chhabra, Secretary-Economic Relations, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, expressed India’s commitment and aspiration to take forward its longstanding partnership with Africa to further forge meaningful cooperation in areas of mutual benefit between India and Africa.
Based on the discussions, H.E. Dr Tax concluded the Panel Discussion by indicating that both, Southern Africa and India stand to benefit under SADC and BRICS arrangements, especially in the areas of technology development and digital economy, agro-processing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, value chains, resilient global supply chains that support the development of local supply chains, and business sector and skills development.