S.Africa, India trade to reach $15 bn before 2014: Zuma

Indian President Pratibha Patil (L) walks with South Africa President Jacob Zuma (R) during her state visit to South Africa in Pretoria on May 2. Trade between South Africa and India will reach the target of $15 billion (11 billion euros) per year before a self-imposed 2014 deadline, Zuma said Thursday. © AFP/File Alexander Joe

JOHANNESBURG – Trade between South Africa and India will reach the target of $15 billion (11 billion euros) per year before a self-imposed 2014 deadline, South African President Jacob Zuma said Thursday.

The two countries agreed to increase their commercial exchanges during Zuma’s state visit to India in 2010.

But they are on track to reach the mark ahead of schedule, Zuma said during a return visit from Indian President Pratibha Patil.

“We set a target of 15 billion dollars of trade between South Africa and India, to be achieved by 2014. According to current trade statistics this could be reached earlier than anticipated,” he told the South Africa-India business forum in the South African capital Pretoria.

“The figure by the end of 2011 was close to seven billion dollars. We are on the right path indeed.”

Africa’s largest economy grew 3.1 percent in 2011, but is dragged down by a 23.9-percent unemployment rate.

Nigeria, the continent’s most populous nation and largest oil producer, was India’s largest trading partner at $10 billion in 2010.

“Let me remind you that you are in the right continent at the right time. The African continent is the new frontier of economic growth and development,” said Zuma.

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