The Indian government plans to double trade turnover with West Africa to $40 billion, focusing on investment in the gas and oil sectors.

India has also set a target of $90 billion trade with Africa as a whole by 2015.

The total trade between India and Africa was approximately $50 billion last year, with West Africa accounting for $20 billion of that. India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma announced at this week’s “India Show” in Accra that India was looking to cooperate with Africa in all areas, but especially gas and oil. The country has already signed memorandums of understanding with several African financial institutions to promote finance, trade and investment flows, and is now stepping up those efforts.

“We are not only looking at enhancing trade with the West African countries but also looking at co-operation in gas and oil sectors,” said Sharma, who is leading a 200-strong business delegation to Ghana as part of India’s bid to increase economic partnerships in West Africa. “We are looking at Africa as a whole for taking our partnership to a new level through various gestures in different fields.”

Bilateral trade between India and Ghana itself is expected to hit $1 billion by 2013. India and Ghana have signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a $1.2 billion urea fertiliser plant in the West African country, which is expected to produce one million tonnes of urea per year once it is fully commissioned. The venture is between Indian firm Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, and is expected to take three years to complete.

“We are committed to establishing this urea plant as soon as possible,” said Hanna Tetteh, Ghana’s Trade and Industry Minister. “An Indian technical team has already visited Ghana and identified the site for the plant. We are going to seal the issue as soon as the gas price matter is sorted out.”


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