About 250 delegates are participating in the first ever “Regional Conclave on India-West Asia North Africa (WANA)”, including 55 businesspersons from India in addition to other WANA country delegates, according to the Indian embassy in Cairo.
Over a press conference held at the Indian embassy on Monday, ambassador of India to Egypt Rahul Kulshreshth stated that the two-day conclave that will kick off on Wednesday is organised by the Confederation of the Indian Industry (CII) in collaboration with Export-Import Bank (EXIM Bank). .
India chose Egypt to hold the regional conference for the first time, asserting Egypt’s leading regional role, the ambassador added.
The visit will not include the signing of any governmental agreements or memorandum of understanding (MoUs), the ambassador told Daily News Egypt over the conference, yet he expected the private sector meetings to reach a number of deals through discussing means of new cooperation between companies.
The Indian embassy is closely cooperating with Egypt’s Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation and Ministry of Trade and Industry to facilitate business challenges that might face the Indian business community, the ambassador mentioned, noting that the Egyptian side is very cooperative in assisting the Indian companies to inject new investments in the Egyptian economy.
The ambassador explained that the Egyptian economy’s positive growth will reflect on the flourishing trade exchange between Egypt and India, he asserted. “We expect the Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr to participate in the WANA Conclave in addition to the Minister of Trade and Industry Amr Nassar,” he said.
Egypt has been traditionally one of India’s most important trading partners in the African continent with bilateral trade exchange worth $4.55bn in fiscal year (FY) 2018/19, compared to $3.68bn in FY 2017/18, the ambassador said.
During FY2018/19, Indian exports to Egypt increased by 20.6% while Indian imports increased by 29%, the ambassador added, elaborating that India is Egypt’s ninth largest trading partner, eighth largest importer of Egyptian goods, and 10th largest exporter to Egypt.
India’s top exported items to Egypt in FY2018/19 were petroleum products, motor vehicles, minerals, and buffalo meat, said Kulshreshth. He noted that India’s top imported items from Egypt from last fiscal year were crude petroleum, manufactured fertilisers, inorganic chemicals, and crude fertilisers.
The WANA region is very important for India particularly in terms of the economic relations, the ambassador assured, noting that India’s exports to WANA stand at $54.8bn in FY2018/19 while India’s imports from this region are $111bn in the same year.