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Indian delegation explores investment opportunities in South Africa and Botswana

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JOHANNESBURG : A multi-product Indian business delegation on a five-day visit to South Africa and neighbouring Botswana has been well-received by potential partners for trade and investment in both countries, the delegation leader said on Wednesday.The delegation from the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) explored the business opportunities in these two nations.

Under the theme “Balancing and Nurturing Trade Relations and Developing Promising Bilateral Trade“, day-long seminars including local speakers were co-hosted by FIEO and the Indian missions in Johannesburg and Gaborone, followed by Business-Business meetings and interactions with government ministers and officials.

The delegation has been well-received by potential partners for trade and investment in both South Africa and neighbouring Botswana, delegation leader Khalid Khan told .

“The African region has always been a very attractive market due to the huge market potential, so the delegation was aimed at exploring the opportunities from this very lucrative continent,” Khan said.

FIEO is mounting this delegation at a precise time when India is evolving and transforming its way of doing business. I am confident that this delegation will be a significant step in that national effort,” he added.

Khan said there had been over 50 contacts made in South Africa and over 120 in Botswana by the 15 participating companies, which would now be followed up.

Sectors represented in the group included agro and processed food products; construction materials; pharmaceuticals; organic chemicals; kitchen utensils; plastic and plastic articles; electric machinery; automobile spare parts; wires and cables and stationery products.

Khan said the responses had been better in Botswana than in South Africa, which is facing an economic downtown and a number of challenges such as an unprecedented shortage of electricity leading to lengthy daily blackouts seriously affecting businesses.

In Botswana, there was particular interest in the pharma and clothing sector as healthcare is taking on increasing importance all over the world, with people looking to cheaper substitutes, which India can provide,” Khan said.

The agriculture minister in Botswana also showed keen interest in the agro sector,” he said.

“Botswana shares the highest GDP amongst the nations on the African continent. Despite such a flourishing economy, India’s export to Botswana is negligible. The share of Botswana in Indian exports was a mere 0.0661 per cent for the last fiscal year, so there is a lot of room for improvement,” Khan said.

Indian Charge D’Affaires in Botswana Mahipal Yadav said that except for diamonds, items exported by India to Botswana were in negligible quantities.

Potential areas of further trade cooperation are the processing and export of leather, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, generic drugs from India and the food processing industry, Yadav said.

“There is also a lot of potential for investment by Indian companies in Botswana in solar power production, diamond cutting and polishing, trading and infrastructure development, mining, coal and diamond, agriculture and dairy, as well as providing technical know-how in the setting up of small and medium industries,” Yadav said.

Some of the delegates were also looking at importing raw diamonds from Botswana.

Keletsositse Olebile, CEO of Botswana Investment and Trade Centre, highlighted the opportunities for Indian investors to springboard into the content from his country.

Setting up your businesses in Botswana will unveil opportunities to access a market of close to 1.27 billion people in the continent of Africa and a combined gross domestic product of over $2.5 trillion, across all 55 member states, through the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement,” Olebile said.

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