'African SMEs should learn from India'

'African SMEs should learn from India'

Friday, 21 March 2008, 07:00 Hrs
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New Delhi: African small and medium enterprises (SMEs) need a complete overhauling of the system to become more organised and competitive, which it is eager to learn by increased cooperation with India, a visiting Congo minister said here Friday.

"Our SME sector needs a total overhauling. We need improvement in our business environment, investment environment, and we need to also learn to be organised," Simon Mboso Kiamputu, minister of industry and small and medium enterprises, Congo, said at session on SMEs at the Fourth India-Africa Project Partnership 2008 here.

The conclave has been organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in collaboration with the Export Import (Exim) Bank of India and the government of India.

"India has achieved considerable success in the sector and it now needs to take a lead in the promotion of the sector. We need to also improve our competitiveness in the SME sector by using quality technology like India," Kiamputu added.

"Quality technology and expertise from India will help us also gain export edge for this we are ready to follow what you did," the minister said adding the African SMEs are not able to unleash themselves also due to lack of a concrete financial system.

"It is surprising but true that certain Indian SMEs manufacture those kind of machineries, which if we buy will help us reinvigorate the entire SMEs sector of Africa," the minister said.

He also urged African SMEs to understand and implement how India has been effectively able to collaborate microfinance with the rise of the sector.

According to Konate Adama, director of small enterprises, Cote d'Ivoire: "The SMS scene in Africa is quite fragile. However, we have been able to create a conducive business and investment environment for investors across the world to come and explore Africa.

"We have also been to create lot of jobs in the sector. But we need to be more competitive both domestically and globally for which we need India to increase its cooperation and share their success with us."

More than 500 delegates representing trade, industry, government and banking from over 30 African countries and 50 ministers are on a three-day India visit from Wednesday.

This visit will culminate in the India-Africa Forum summit that will be held here April 8-9.

India's exports to Africa stood at $8.4 billion, while imports recorded $11.4 billion. Exports to Africa are regionally diversified with eastern, southern and western Africa accounting for $2.5-3 billion each.
Source: IANS
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