Information and communication technologies (ICT) are India's fastest-growing industries in production and exports, largely thanks to economic liberalisation policies and a government commitment to make the sector a priority. Last year, its electronics and ICT production topped $42,3bn, of which 62% was exported, accounting for 14,3% of the country's total exports. Computer software accounted for $29,6bn of the production, of which a massive 80% was exported.

But less than 1% of those goods and services are coming to Africa, and that is something the delegates hope to change. Of the electronics and software exports worth $180m that it exported to Africa in 2005-06, about 42% came to SA in the form of software, consultancy services, CDs, amplifiers and televisions.

About 40 Indian businessmen are exhibiting at the Futurex trade fair and hosting meet-and-greet events as they seek partners to import their products. The Indian pavilion is displaying mobile computing devices, telecom solutions, uninterrupted power supplies, IT training material, project management tools, hardware components and banking software.

Some delegates will be discussing possible co-operation on outsourcing deals, software development and skills-transfer programmes. They are members of India's Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council, which is so serious in its quest to create links with SA that it is one of the sponsors for the Futurex conference.

India's consul-general in SA, Navdeep Suri, will address the conference today as other speakers give an overview of India's hi-tech sector and highlight possible areas of co-operation.

Business Day