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India, China could inspire growth of Africa

The weeklong conference has attracted more than 700 business leaders, politicians and academics from 39 countries.

india Updated: Jun 01, 2006 15:39 IST

Acknowledging the growing economic prowess of India and China, a regional conference of World Economic Forum in Capetown has said they would determine whether both countries could be catalysts in unleashing growth in the African nations.

The weeklong conference has attracted more than 700 business leaders, politicians and academics from 39 countries including representatives of India's Tata group.

The World Economic Forum Director for Africa, Haiko Alfeld, said the conference would aim to determine whether the booming Chinese and Indian economies could play the role of catalyst in economic growth of Africa.

A co-chairman of the conference, Jim Goodnight, of the US software firm, SAS Institute, said the emphasis on education by India and China was the main reason for the economic surge in both the countries.

"It's an educated workforce, one that can feed the knowledge economy, the biotech industry, the telecom industry. These are the great engines of growth and that's what I fear more than anything else from China and India," he said.

"The fact is that they're producing students of a higher calibre than those in the United States," he said.

Goodnight said the rest of the world must learn from emphasis on education by India and China.

The CEO of South Africa's Transnet company, Maria Ramos, said shorter-term fears about the impact of China and India were begining to give way to a realisation of longer-term opportunities.

"What is happening in those countries and what they'are doing for global growth is criticially important", she said.