New Delhi: The commerce ministry has decided to formulate a comprehensive action plan to boost India's trade with Africa which is "relatively" small at present, Union Minister Suresh Prabhu said.
A series of engagements have been lined up in different parts of Africa to discuss ways to promote trade and investments between the two regions, he said.
"As part of our strategy to explore new markets, we are constantly engaging with Africa where there is huge scope for exports...We have decided to prepare an action plan to boost exports and imports from Africa," the commerce and industry minister told PTI.
To strengthen the dialogue on trade and investments, "we have divided them in five parts - east, west, north, south and central", Prabhu said.
Deliberations have been completed in the eastern part and soon similar engagements would be organised in places including Algeria and Nigeria, he added.
"The idea is to discover new markets. We are meeting them regularly... Trade is relatively very small with Africa," Prabhu said.
With India's exports growing at a relatively slower rate, Africa holds huge potential to boost exports. According to experts, India needs to take more steps to increase cooperation with the continent in various areas including services.
"India has lot of prospects in Africa. We need to increase our engagement with the continent. We have not yet exploited that fully as compared to China, which has huge presence," said Biswajit Dhar, a professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Prabhu has earlier pitched for a free trade agreement with Africa to boost economic ties between the two regions. The commerce between India and the African countries is about USD 52 billion currently.