Vice-President Saulos Chilima has asked the Government of India to speed up processing Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) issues with African traders to promote India-Africa trade.
The Veep has also asked African governments to start implementing various reforms aimed at re-structuring processes and procedures to improve the investment environment.
Chilima was speaking as a co-guest of honour during the opening of the 13th Confederation for Indian Industry (CII) Exim Bank Conclave on India/Africa Project Partnership on Sunday evening in New Dehli, India.
He noted that the India-Africa trade gap is still wide and that Africa continues to export raw products with minimal value addition.
Said Chilima: “Non-tariff barriers have also posed a major challenge for African traders because it takes time to process Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary [SPS] certificates. My humble plea is that the Government of India should speed up processing SPS issues with African traders to promote India-Africa trade. This is a win-win.”
He also challenged African governments to come up with new principles and structures on trade, doing away with old ways that have failed to deliver people from poverty.
“Malawi, like most African nations, realises that this is our time to develop. We are no longer approaching the development agenda in the business as usual fashion. New principles and structures must be put in place to do away with the older ways that have failed to deliver our people from the gut-wrenching poverty,” said Chilima.
On his part, India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu said Africa is his country’s true partner on trade; hence, continued meetings on how to bolster the relationship.
“What we want is for African governments to tell what will benefit their people. We will not come with something that cannot help your continent,” Prabhu said.
Other co-guest of honours with Chilima at the meeting are Zimbabwe vice-president Constantino Chiwenga and Uganda’s VP Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi.
The meeting is being held under the theme Partners in Development, Building New Synergies. n