India will host a four-day mega trade expo of Afghan products in Mumbai from Wednesday as part of its commitment to help the war-ravaged nation stand on its own feet.
The second annual ‘Passage to Prosperity: India-Afghanistan International Trade and Investment Show’ is being jointly organised by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Government of India and the Government of Afghanistan.
The expo is taking place two days after Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale visited Kabul and reiterated India’s firm support to Afghanistan in further enhancing development cooperation with the war-torn country.
The first such trade show was organised in New Delhi last year. Indian buyers and Afghan vendors signed over $27 million in contracts for raw and processed agricultural products, and a number of Indian buyers and Afghan vendors signed Memorandums of Understanding valued at nearly $214 million at that expo.
This time around, more than 600 representatives from Afghanistan, India and international businesses are expected to attend the trade show, featuring Afghanistan’s finest textiles, carpets, gems, and jewellery. In addition to product sales, the event provides an opportunity for businesses to develop partnerships, identify investment opportunities, and engage in business-to-business matchmaking in a range of sectors.
Afghan producers and exporters of fresh dry fruit, nuts, spices and juices will be showcasing their high value products to develop partnerships with Indian importers, whole-sellers and supermarket chains.
Organisers said while Kabul and New Delhi shared trade ties that span generations, Mumbai was less familiar to Afghan businesses and vice versa. The objective of bringing the expo to Mumbai this year was to link Kabul to Mumbai and the rest of the world.
By 2020, bilateral trade between India and Afghanistan was expected to reach more than $2 billion. The expo would help develop economic ties between Afghanistan and international markets, and further advance trade integration.
“By creating meaningful partnerships, economic ties will be strengthened and employment opportunities will increase. The deals and connections that result from this trade show will have long-term impacts on both Afghanistan and India,” the USAID said.
In preparation for the event, USAID, in cooperation with Several of its partners, will identify Afghan traders, develop Business profiles, and facilitate pre-matching with international businesses and buyers.