Abidjan: Scouting for new avenues for Indian businesses, President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said that a considerable amount of the capital generated in India seeks new destinations outside the country, including in resource-rich Africa.
Recalling ancient trade and economic linkages between India and Africa, the president said business and economic activity has always been a major driver of India's close and friendly ties with Africa.
Addressing the Business Forum of local businessmen, Mukherjee said Cote d'Ivoire is expected to grow at a rate of 9.6 per cent which makes it a prime destination for investment in Africa and second fastest growing economy after Ethiopia.
"For Ivorian businessmen, the opportunities offered by India are not new. India has recorded a steady growth at the rate of 7.6 per cent each year - for over a decade now. The comprehensive reforms introduced in key areas of our economy have enhanced the ease of doing business in India," he said.
The President said country's foreign investment regime has been liberalised through simplified procedures and the removal of several restricting provisions. Mukherjee said In 2014, India recorded 32 per cent growth in investments and late it emerged as emerged as one of the biggest global investment destinations.
"India as economy has grown and matured; a considerable amount of the capital generated in India seeks new destinations outside the country, including in Africa. Indian investors are aware of the potential of Cote d'Ivoire; with its large land mass, rich natural resources and youthful demography, as an important investment destination," he said. Mukherjee said India looks forward to partnering Cote d'Ivoire - particularly in the agricultural processing sector and the exploration and mining of minerals. He asked businessmen of Cote d'Ivoire to take advantage of the Indian Government's initiatives such as Make in India.
"India is the 5th largest trading partner of Ivory Coast - and yet, we continue to see that despite the positive environment of growth in our two countries, our bilateral trade has remained at modest levels. It has not grown beyond $840 million, which is far below the true potential that we can and must fully realise," he said.
President Pranab Mukherjee has been accorded the highest honour of Cote D'Ivoirie by its President Alassane Ouattara on his maiden visit here. After an elaborate reception accorded at the airport, Mukherjee attended a banquet last evening hosted by Ouattara where he was accorded with Grand Cross National Order of the Republic of Cote D'Ivoirie in a simple ceremony in the President's Palace. It is the first such honour accorded to Mukherjee, Press Secretary to the President Venu Rajamony said. He said while Mukherjee has received number of honorary degrees, it is first such honour accorded to him by a country. In his speech at the banquet, Mukherjee who is on the second leg of his three-nation visit to Africa, said it is rightly believed that the mutual goodwill between India and Cote D'Ivoirie is inversely proportional to the geographical distance separating the two countries, longstanding friendship and fruitful co-operation has made it irrelevant. "I feel greatly honoured, Excellency, by your gesture of conferring on me the National Order of the Republic of Cote D'Ivoirie. I consider it to be emblematic of the long standing mutual friendship between the peoples of our two countries," he said.