An online interaction between the Indian businesses and the senior officials from the Indian Consulate is being set-up in Johannesburg to discuss the opportunities and possibilities to increase & diversify the Indian exports to South Africa, an export market that has grown 4 times in last one and a half decade. This interaction being set-up is the part of the Ministry of External Affairs’ initiative started last year to facilitate and promote Indian exports through its Missions and Posts in various countries.
Exports from India to South Africa, especially automobiles and pharmaceuticals, got a big push during the Pandemic and similar opportunity exist for other sectors too. Indian exports to South Africa in 2004-2005 was at $984 million and it touched $4 billion in 2019-2020, although it dropped marginally to $3.93 billion in 2020-2021 due to the pandemic at the beginning of the fiscal. Imports of the other hand, increased by 8.6% to$7.5 billion during the fiscal.
In 2020-2021, despite the decline in Indian exports to South Africa, items such as motor vehicles showed a sharp 10.97 % growth to $557 million. In fact, India was the top country of origin for vehicle imports into South Africa despite the lengthy covid-19 lockdowns and overall declines in vehicle sales in 2020. According to the recent Automotive Export Manual report of the Automotive Industry Export Council, "Automobiles and parts exports to South Africa have a great potential for growth as Indian exporters could also use the country as a hub for export to other African countries.
Pharmaceuticals is another area where there are opportunities for accelerated growth in the post-Covid period. India's exports of pharmaceutical products to South Africa in 2020-2021 grew by 33% to $745 million and with the focus on demand is likely to rise further. Apart from pharmaceuticals and vehicles & components, exports from India to South Africa also include transport engineering goods, equipment, footwear, dyes and intermediates, chemicals, textiles, rice, gems and jewellery. In 2020-2021, India's overall goods exports declined by 7.26% to $290.63 billion but in the first quarter of the current fiscal, the country recorded the highest-ever exports of $95 billion, resulting to a 85% growth over the first quarter of the previous fiscal.
According to the FIEO, the key objective of the interactive session is to understand the present economic status of South Africa in view of covid-19 and discussing the commercial opportunities available in the economic environment and evaluating the future opportunities of various sectors. With the intensifying ties between India and South Africa not just economically but also strategically, as witnessed in the two countries recent collaboration at the WTO on intellectual property flexibilities for covid-19 medical products , the atmosphere is conducive for more business.