Indo Africa Desk

According to Brookings, Africa's potential as a growth market for business remains both underestimated and misunderstood - as does the potential for business. This has been best exemplified when one considers the question: How many companies in Africa earn annual revenues of $1 billion or more? Most global executives and academics will to be less than in  three figures. The reality? More than 400 such companies exist - and they are, on average, both faster growing and more profitable than their global peers. Africa's fast-growing population and markets present important opportunities for business in an environment of slowing global growth. At the same time, greater innovation and investment from business is essential to meet Africa's unfulfilled demand for goods and services, close the gaps in its infrastructure, create jobs, and decrease poverty. Consider some other facts:

Africa is the most profitable region in the world. A report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development states that between 2006 and 2011, Africa had the highest rate of return on inflows of Foreign Direct Investment: 11.4%.  This is compared to 9.1% in Asia, 8.9% in Latin America and the Caribbean. The global figure is 7.1%.

Africa's economic growth prospects are among the world's brightest. Six of the world's 12 fastest-growing countries are in Africa (Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Rwanda). Further, between 2018 and 2023, Africa's growth prospects will be among the highest in the world, according to the IMF.

India and Africa

Indian interest and investment in Africa have become very visible and are on the rise. So it is timely to reflect on how experience in India may be relevant and helpful to progress in Africa. In the past five years more than 85 Acquisitions & Equity Investments were made by Indian companies in Africa for an investment of over USD16 billion plus in highly varied sectors ranging from telecom, agriculture, energy, consumer goods, cement, textiles, etc.

India is now Africa's third largest trading partner, accounting for 6.4 percent of African total trade for a total value of $62.6 billion in 2017-18. By comparison, China, having surpassed the United States, is Africa's largest trading partner; the value of Chinese-African trade in 2018 was $185 billion. Chinese overseas investment in Africa, in all sectors, as of 2020, totalled $147.66 billion. India cannot hope to compete dollar-for-dollar with Chinese spending power. However, India can compete with China in two ways. First, it can work to enable greater African agency, while pursuing its interests, and, second, India can pursue greater engagement with its long-established and well-integrated diaspora community in Africa. This can enable India to chart its own course between the United States, the European Union, and China, in Africa.
In 2019, India had granted 279 lines of credit worth $28 billion globally. This is in addition to Indian lines of credit in Africa totalling $10 billion, for development purposes, in 2017. This is a huge increase from previous governments, which did not prioritize Africa. In the same year, India further announced a grant of $600 million to be spread over the period of the third India-Africa Summit, until 2020. By 2020, Indian lines of credit totalling $11 billion had been extended to 41 African countries. This makes Africa India's largest regional destination of overseas aid. (Bhutan, Mauritius, and Nepal are the main recipients of Indian overseas aid.)

Some 3 million people of Indian origin live on the continent. More than 1 million of these call South Africa home while Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda also have large numbers of diaspora Indians. 

About IMC

IMC is one of India's oldest chambers with over a century of history. Set in Mumbai, India's commercial capital and most well connected with Africa, it represents the views of over 5000 members and 150 trade bodies. IMC is very focussed on the opportunity for Indian Businesses. IMC has also taken a lead in india to promote Indo - Africa ties that is not only reflected in the multiple visits of its members to Africa but a PAN Africa Virtual Summit in November 2020 inaugurated by Mr. Piyush Goyal and follow up PAN Africa Summit on March 23-24, 2020, both of which were broadcasted live in 48 sub-Saharan African countries. Both the Summits were addressed political, government and business leaders from both India and Africa.


As many have said, Africa is an untapped global potential. To make this potential real, IMC established India- Africa Desk at IMC to institutionalize India - Africa Growth Initiative.  The Desk is set up in partnership with EXIM Bank of India and CNBC Africa.

The main objective and function of the Desk will include, inter-alia the following:

  • Track Policy, Regulatory and Business Progress in key economies in Africa and provide regular updates and information to its members and Indian companies wanting to explore India
  • Provide updated information and insights to counterparts in Africa on potential opportunities emanating out of India
  • Regular series of meetings and exposure visits to Africa for Indian Businesses
  • Support companies in detailed entry strategy, financing arrangements and partnerships through our partners and collaborators in Africa
  • Serve as a policy advocacy platform for enhanced business in Africa by Indian companies
  • Annual Africa summit to sustain the momentum
  • Other activities related to the above


  • The IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, popularly known as The IMC, is a legendary organization which has relentlessly pursued the agenda of identifying opportunities, addressing critical issues and driving Indian businesses with the single minded focus of sustainable growth. Set up in 1907, in the wake of the 'Swadeshi Movement' to represent Indian businesses. IMC is a premier Chamber of trade, commerce and industry in India. IMC is the sponsor and will be drive this Desk, for which a small team will be identified in IMC and Mr. Rajiv  Podar, current president of IMC will personally be leading it.
  • Africa Business News (CNBC Africa and Forbes) will be our African counterpart.  CNBC Africa is an African pay television network launched on 1 June 2007. Founded by  Rakesh Wahi  the network is produced under license from CNBC International and is owned by Africa Business News (ABN). It is headquartered in Sandton, Johannesburg. The channel features programmes and updates from CNBC Europe, the Middle East, India, the US and other CNBC affiliates around the world. ABN will not only provide the platform for promoting India - Africa Business but a source of rich content for the desk.
  • EXIM Bank - Export-Import Bank of India in 1982 was born after two decades of debate on the need for a specialized export credit agency for India and the role of international trade in India's economic development. As mentioned, EXIM Bank is also playing a key role in promoting Trade and Investments between India and Africa which is reflected in the new LCs proposed. EXIM Bank will leverage the growth initiative for expanding the visibility and businesses opportunity for Indian Businesses emanating out of the Investments India is making in Africa.

The IMC Indo-Africa Desk will work closely with Indian Diplomatic Missions in African countries and Diplomatic Missions of African countries in India.

Summary - IMC Indo Africa Summit 2020

Summary - IMC Indo Africa Summit 2021

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