Accra, July 10 (IANS) India is seeking to invest in Ghana'soil and gas sector and double trade with West Africa to $40 billion by 2015 as part of its growing efforts to play a larger role in the development of Africa as a whole.
'We have a keen interest in Ghana's developing hydrocarbon sector and would discuss this and other sectors for close cooperation,' Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said after opening a Indian trade expo here Monday.
Ghana, which started oil production in January 2010 and partners with the UK Tullow Oil in the country's Jubilee oil fields, has announced that it will peak production to about 120,000 barrels next year.
Ghana currently produces about 70,000 barrels of oil a day.
Sharma, leading a 200-member trade delegation, the biggest to any African country, emphasised the need for deepening and diversifying India's economic engagements with West African countries.
He said India wanted to double its trade with West Africa to $40 billion by 2015 from the current around $20 billion.
'What we have achieved with trade between India and the West Africa region, it is possible to double the current figure of $20 million over the next three years.'
Sharma urged the chambers of commerce in West Africa and India to work towards increasing trade between the two sides.
Ghana Trade and Industry Minister Hannah Tetteh said cooperation between India and Africa is 'rooted in good relationship, and that, there are opportunities of growth across the African continent.'
She said the decision to hold the India Show in Ghana was a demonstration of faith in the country's economy. 'This is a good time to invest in Ghana because the country's gross domestic product (GDP) grew at 14 percent last year.
'In addition, there is good prognosis for growth and we intend to keep it so because Ghana is the most stable country in the West Africa region,' she added.
Tetteh said investments from Indian companies in Ghana has increased over the past few years.
Sharma also said the pan-African e-project is 'one of the shining examples of cooperation between our people'.
Under the project, 47 countries across Africa, have been linked up through the internet and 15 universities have been linked up with their counterparts in India.
'The entire project is without cost or burden to Africa, Sharma said adding, 'This is what we believe in and we are not just looking for resources because we believe in investment.'
He said India looks at the other needs of its partners and does this by empowering its people. 'Within the past three years, India has educated over 20,000 Africans in its institutions.'
The expo is being jointly organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
ECOWAS comprises Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo along with Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritania, Sao Tome and Principe and the Republic of Congo.
(Francis Kokutse can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)