Harare, Nov 4 (PTI): Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has asked the Zimbabwean companies to take advantage of the current high growth trajectory of the Indian economy, saying the business environment in the country is changing for the better. Addressing the India-Zimbabwe Business Forum meeting Saturday, Naidu said India and Zimbabwe have shared very cordial and warm relationship that dates back to the 17th century when they were trading in metals, minerals and textiles.
However, the economic ties between the two nations have not fully reflected their immense potential. The bilateral trade between the two nations stands at just over USD 230 million and investment at USD 500 million, which is "far below the potential". "There are natural synergies and complementarities between the two economies and we need to tap them for our mutual benefit. Zimbabwean companies can take advantage of the current high growth trajectory of the Indian economy," Naidu said.
He said India, one of the fastest growing major economies in the world, is on course to become a 5 trillion economy by 2025. The country has recently become the 6th largest economy in the world with a GDP of USD 2.6 trillion, he added. "Indian companies could form partnerships in Zimbabwe both for the domestic economy and for the wider Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa(COMESA)," Naidu said.
The Vice President said the key areas with potential for two-way trade and investment engagement include mining, equipment manufacture, information and communication technology, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, food processing, auto components, medical devices, defence production, infrastructure and tourism sectors. Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector is key to India's economy. As Zimbabwe's economy is also largely based on SME sector, it can benefit from India's experience, he said.
Inviting Zimbabwe companies to set up their business in India, Naidu quoted the World Bank's 'Doing Business 2019' report which said that India, which advanced to 77th place in the global ranking, is now the region's top-ranked economy. "Starting a business was made easier through consolidation of multiple application forms and introduction of a Goods and Services Tax (GST)," the report stated. "India is changing rapidly. The business environment is changing for the better. The archaic regulations are being dismantled. Seamless processes are being introduced," Naidu said.
"I hope today's Business Forum will be a major step forward to expand our economic ties and establish new ventures that will build on our strengths and answer our needs," he added. Later in the evening, Naidu laid a wreath at the National Heroes Acre, a memorial housing the remains of those people who sacrificed their lives in Zimbabwe's struggle for independence. Naidu is in Zimbabwe here as part of his six-day three-nation tour to Africa, aimed at deepening India's strategic cooperation with Botswana, Zimbabwe and Malawi.