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Indian exporters need to tap African countries more, says Exim Bank MD

The dark continent has an almost ‘unlimited market,’ says David Rasquinha
Indian exporters need to increasingly tap African countries that have an almost “unlimited market,” said David Rasquinha, MD, Export Import Bank of India.
Pointing out that expanding geographical range and product diversification were critical for Indian exporters, he said in 2018-19, exports were expected to surpass the $304-billion figure of 2017-18. Delivering the keynote address at an international trade conclave arranged by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry here, on Friday, he also highlighted the rising concerns of the Indian textile exporters and the challenges being faced by exporters.
Referring to Africa, he said that India’s exports to this continent had increased from 7.5% in 2009-10 to 8% in 2017-18. Of the 54 African countries, there was significant trade with 47. Many of these countries ranked high in terms of ease of business.
Facing competition
On the issue of the competition being faced by Indian textile exporters from Bangladesh and Vietnam, he highlighted the need to scale up business to combat cost pressures.
“We grow cotton, others do not. We have to leverage our strengths,” he said, adding India also needed to move towards textile blends.
On the changing role of finance, he said that the banking sector’s health was now improving through various measures, especially through the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. He shared his concern on LIBOR as a benchmark rate, noting that its trustworthiness had now come under the scanner.
While a new benchmark dollar interest rate had been created (Secured Overnight Financing Rate), the change from LIBOR is not easy as it is tied to all kinds of financial instruments
He said that the bank may clock 10% growth, with its business likely to touch Rs. 1 lakh crore this fiscal.