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23.04.2008 Business & Finance

`Africa needs attention`-Indian Trade Minister tells the world

By Stephen Odoi-Larbi - Ghanaian Chronicle

India's Minister for Trade and Commerce, Kamal Nath has stressed the need for Africa to be given the needed attention to develop.

If given the needed attention by the world, especially developed nations, he expressed the belief that the continent would be back on its feet.

He has thus called on the leaders of developed countries to give African countries the opportunity to grow their economies in terms of equitable growth of the global economy.

Mr. Nath, who is currently participating in the ongoing United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD XII) summit in Accra, has therefore thrown an open challenge to African leaders to take their destinies into their own hands to develop their respective countries.

He believes the time has come for African leaders to put more effort in employment creation instead of being mere exporters of finished products.

He has thus indicated his government's readiness to assist the continent in the area of manufacturing to create more jobs.

Since India has expertise in the area of manufacturing, he said it would commit more efforts to invest in these areas.

Speaking at a press briefing held at the instance of the Indian High Commissioner to Ghana, Mrs. Ruchi Ghanasyan at India house in Accra, he told journalists that this would not only lead to an effective utilisation of natural resources but also create jobs in the process of manufacturing.

Though he admits that India's investment in the area of manufacturing has not been that large in Ghana, but he expressed optimism that the situation will improve.

However, he noted that India has made substantial investments in Africa, using Ghana as one of the countries that have benefited from a credit facility of US $157million.

He reiterated his Prime Minister's commitment to give a US$5.5billion line of credit to African countries to stimulate investment and manufacturing in their economies.

Mr. Kamal Nath is a well-respected politician in Indian.

His tenure as the Trade and Commerce Minister of India has witnessed major trade policy initiatives. 

For the first time, a comprehensive Foreign Trade Policy (2004-09) was announced, laying out a coherent roadmap with a twin focus on exports as well as employment.

Also, the country's merchandise exports rose to around US$ 80 billion registering over 24% growth in 2004-05 over the previous year. 

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