INVEST INDIA organised India-Africa Forum for the benefit of Promotion Agencies in Africa on January 21-25, 2013. Participants included dignitaries and senior officials from many African countries like Nigeria,Ethiopia,Sudan,Malawi,Tanzania,Bostwana,Burundi,Uganda,Seychelles,Mali,Mauritania,Madagaskar, Libya, Tunisia etc.
Apart from the Ambassadors of some African countries based in Delhi, senior Government officials from Government of India and top Indian corporate leaders addressed and interacted with the gathering on different days.The main subjects deliberated at the Forum upon included: India's engagement with Africa,African perspectives on deepening investment cooperation with India.
On January 23, 2013 for the sessions on Indian Corporate Investments in India and Enhancing Investment Opportunities in Infrastructure in Africa. Chairman OIA Ambassador Dr.V.B.Soni was one of the key note speakers, along with representatives from IL&FS and SREI Infrastructure Finance Ltd. etc.
From the services sector Dr.Harinder Singh Sidhu, Apollo Hospitals and Mr.PrakashGopalani,Eastern Software Solutions and they emphasised that Africa has immense growth potential and in the years to come perception will play over reality. They related their positive impressions of putting up their business models in selected African countries.
Chairman OIA Ambassador Dr.V.B.Soni as the key note speaker in the session underlined that OIA has been a pioneer in the infrastructure and industry fields in Africa for a decade now. How it discovered Africa could be attributed to its choice of a 'Blue Ocean Strategy' in what has turned out to be a dynamic region of the World. Now that Africa has been rediscovered by the World, the continent needs a very calibrated and informed approach, especially by Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs), to attract serious investors and claim its due place in the World Economy.
For a conducive investment climate, Chairman OIA exhorted that IPAs must constantly benchmark their respective countries in terms of such issues as: consistent and stable tax regimes, tax-incentives including 10-15 year holidays in priority areas, clear laws and arbitration mechanisms, internationally robust agreements and contracts, well-defined Intellectual Property Rights, double taxation and investment treaties, innovative Public Private Partnerships, novel business and marketing models, clear priorities based on natural endowments and social needs, encouragement to capacity building to develop local resources, viability gap funding for socially desirable projects, easy import of capital goods, permitting foreign companies to purchase land and assets for long-term stake, etc.
Showcasing some important projects is an important function carried out by IPAs, he pointed out.He said that OIA has actively participated with Planning Commissions / Investment Agencies or concerned Ministries in Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Tanzania as also other countries to suggest and formulate a number of projects even when not many of them were of direct commercial relevance to it. He concluded that the participants should deliberate on best strategies on how to unleash the economic power of Africa in a systematic manner. India and Indian companies like OIA are the obvious natural partners in this quest.