Rawat Rajesh, Director, India Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts, India, disclosed this at the sensitisation for IHGF Delhi Fair – Spring 2019 on Friday in Lagos.

Rajesh said that India’s desire was to enhance its trade relationship with Africa, especially Nigeria, through promoting exports that would increase the present trade volume of $11.76 billion between both countries.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria is India’s largest trading partner in Africa, and India is the largest buyer of Nigeria’s crude oil globally.

Rajesh said that there was need to explore opportunities in other sectors toward enhancing trade and investment between both countries.

He said that between April and September this year, export from India to Nigeria stood at $1.35 billion, and goods exported were handicrafts, pharmaceuticals, ceramic, fabrics, iron and steel, chemical and aluminum.

According to him, India’s export of handicrafts stands at $60.92 million in 2017, signifying a 21.27 per cent growth from $50.23 per cent recorded in 2016.

He said that both countries could leverage on their huge population to transfer knowledge, build capacity of their citizens in the handicrafts sector to increase production, efficiency, employment and global competitiveness.

Rajesh noted that the IHGF Delhi Fair – Spring 2019, which would hold from Feb. 18 to 22 in Delhi, India, was a platform that would connect Indian exporters in home, lifestyle, fashion and textile products with Nigerian businesses.

According to him, opening Indian markets to Nigeria and building trust among businesses has the potential to enhance handicrafts trade between both countries from its present $60 million to $100 million within five years.

Also, Mr Gbolahan Olaniyi, President, African Association of Interior Designers, said that the fair would provide a platform for Nigerian businesses to explore latest designs, learn the expertise and replicate it locally.

Olaniyi said that leveraging the strategic partnership and economic relationship with a country like India, had the potential to deepen Nigeria’s trade and quest for economic diversification.

Miss Bunmi Aliu, Trade Promotion Manager, Clarion Event, said that both countries could leverage on their symbiotic relationship to create new markets in their manufacturing and Small and Medium Size Entreprises (SMEs) sub-sectors.

She said that the Nigerian handicrafts market was still growing and open to explore more opportunities that would bridge the industry gaps and enhance Nigeria’s retail trade put at $128 billion in 2017.