South African high commissioner to India Sibusiso Ndebele has said that the chemistry between president Cyril Ramaphosa and prime minister Narendra Modi will benefit both the countries post-COVID-19.
The diplomat was participating in a webinar titled “Africa Economic Update – COVID & Beyond: Focus Southern Africa”.
“As far as our bilateral trade with India is concerned, the institution of a fairly restrictive lockdown on both sides has had an equally negative impact at a time when our countries are determined to increase trade links between them,” Ndebele said.
“As an immediate impact, there will be congestion at the ports in shipments while the supply chain in different countries returns to normal, depending on the different stages of the virus in their respective countries.
“The warm and cordial relationship between our two countries needs to fully deliver on its economic potential,” Ndebele said, adding that visits by the heads of state to each other’s countries have resulted in a unique “chemistry” between Ramaphosa and Modi.
“As both countries move out of their respective lockdowns and new opportunities are explored, we will need to work together to ensure that we fully support the private sector to realise these opportunities and ensure that our bilateral trade and investment relations hit new heights,” the diplomat said.
Rajesh Ranjan, high commissioner to Botswana, believed that opportunities existed for pension funds in the country to be invested in India. In Namibia, which borders both Botswana and South Africa, consideration is being given to establishing an alternative port to those currently used in South Africa to ship good to countries in the region, according to high commissioner Prasant Agrawal.
Rajiv Jaiswal, Regional Manager for Southern & East Africa at Tata Motors, South Africa, felt that the Make in India Ambulance project, which had seen success in Sri Lanka, Seychelles and Malawi, could be extended to the rest of Africa. Srikar Reddy, joint secretary in the ministry of external affairs, said southern Africa had emerged as an important trade partner of India.
“In order to mitigate the adverse effect of COVID-19 on India-South Africa trade, new ways and means are being considered to continue and expand that trade,” he said.