Make In India v Make In South Africa: Compelling Arguments For Both
Maite Nkoana Mashabane, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, lived in India for more than five years as an ambassador between 1999 and 2005.
She returned to New Delhi for the India-Africa Forum Summit, where she spoke about how both countries want the same things.
India and South Africa have economic commonality in both being BRICS members — an association of five major emerging national economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Historically the two countries have been on friendly terms with common icons like Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela who are revered in both the countries.
South Africans of Indian origin account for almost 2.5 percent of the country’s population with Durban having the highest concentration of the community.
Even as India woos the world with its Make in India program, South Africa wants Indian firms to manufacture in the country, South African International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane said.
In New Delhi for the India-Africa Forum Summit, Mashabane said South Africa wanted to enhance economic partnership with India in a way that was mutually beneficial for both the countries.
“As much as Make in India, also we can Make in South Africa, as long as it is in partnership and mutually beneficial,” said Mashabane. She was responding to a question on what kind of cooperation South Africa is looking for with India.
Mashabane said South Africa wants to benefit from its natural resources and alleviate poverty.
“When we say we want to process our raw materials… we have the raw material, but we need to work on skilling our people,” she said.
“People cannot come from somewhere, take our raw material and leave us even without the basic knowledge. So we want industrialisation which is skill-based and we will encourage many Indian companies for partnership,” she said.
Stressing that the two nations should build on their historical ties, she said South Africa felt Mahatma Gandhi belongs to it as much as he belongs to India.
“India’s place in the world has been determined by Mahatma Gandhi. He is Mahatma Gandhi of South Africa as much as he is Mahatma Gandhi of India,” she said.
She said both the countries have in common, including the “history, joint struggle against colonialism, joint struggle of non-occupation, freedom, values of respect of law, and respect of human rights”.
“We have proven to the world that democracy and development can go together,” she said.
She, however, added that the two developing nations now needed to build on their economic relations.
“People cannot eat just democracy, they need bread on the table. Our focus would be the dynamism, strengthening of our economic ties in line with the agenda of the African union,” she said, when asked about the expected outcome from the summit.
Asked about joining India on the climate change agenda, the minister said, “We also are aware now that the issues of climate change are also equally a development issue. But above all it is about the economy; so we will defend what is important for us,” she added.
Bilateral trade between India and South Africa stands at US$15 billion and both the countries are trying to take it beyond US$20 billion by 2018.
Read more at BusinessStandard.
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