Visiting Indian Minister for External Affairs (Foreign Minister) Mobashar Jawed Akbar urged Indian and West African businesses here on Wednesday to help lift the poor from poverty.

In his keynote address at the opening of the India-West Africa Business Forum and Exhibition-Namaskar Africa 2017, Akbar argued that this would benefit the businesses themselves, as it would create more high quality consumers for their products.

“Growth by itself is no longer sustainable. The first fruits and the largest share of growth must go to those who need it most, which is those who are at the bottom of the economic perimeter. When you create economic empowerment among the poor what do you do? You actually create an enlarged new market and you get a quantum scale, a far bigger market,” Akbar pointed out.

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He added: “In the next five years you may be hoping to increase your market by 15 million, by 20 million. We want to turn them into consumption of high value of quality products. And in India we are looking at the next five years a market that is going to grow by 400 million.”

The Indian FM called for a shift in the paradigm when production in the developing countries benefited others, rather than their own people.

“Both our countries know that the era of purchases must be replaced by the era of production and this era of production must be Ghana-led and India-led and in the context of our partnership it has to be Ghana-cum-India led.”

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He lamented that when developing countries create industry, somebody else takes the trade, adding, “and the time has come to reverse that. We are not going to allow our industry to become somebody else’s profit. It has not only to become profit for ourselves but it must these profits have to go to the people.”

The two-day forum and exhibition saw many companies in various fields of technology and services of Indian and West African origin exhibiting their products and services.

Ghana’s Minister for Trade and Industry Allan Kyeremateng noted that, with collaboration, not only Ghana but also the whole of West Africa and India could take their people to the next stage of development.

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“Ghana and India have enjoyed excellent diplomatic and commercial relations for many years. But underpinning that is the strong bond of friendship between the first President of Ghana

“President Nkrumah, and also the first Prime Minister of India, so there is a symbiotic relationship between the two countries which I believe will endure for a very long time. I consider this a very important forum for those of us in Ghana and in West Africa.” Enditem

Source: Xinhua/Newsghana.com.gh