In an effort to maximise the potential of the economic and commercial partnership and double the bilateral trade, the first-ever India-South Africa business summit will take place in Johannesburg on April 29 and 30. Commerce & industry minister Suresh Prabhu will lead a high-level delegation. Indian high commissioner Ruchira Kamboj told FE, “As we seek to grow the partnership between India and South Africa in the 25th year of establishment of diplomatic relations, this is the first such business summit to be held in South Africa or in India. The focus of the two-day summit with the theme ‘United by legacy, unified for prosperity’ is to maximise the potential of the economic relationship and to double trade figures by 2021.”
South African minister of trade and industry Rob Davies and Prabhu will deliver the main addresses at the summit. According to Kamboj, “The event will focus on start-ups, automotives, healthcare & pharma, mining, agri processing, women in business and the fourth industrial revolution – all of which are sectors having scope and potential for growth in a bilateral context.”
Besides the plenary, the summit will witness eight breakaway sessions and the closing session on April 30, all of which seek to chart the way forward for the bilateral relationship. There will also be an interface between India and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The SADC is a regional economic community comprising 15 member states – Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Established in 1992, the SADC is committed to regional integration and poverty eradication through economic development and by ensuring peace and security. India and South Africa share a strategic partnership that is more than 200 years old. There are over 130 Indian companies in South Africa which have invested about $8 billion in that country, employing around 18,000 South Africans. South African investment to India is approximately $1 billion inclusive of companies such as Sanlam, FNB, Old Mutual, and Life Healthcare.