Nigeria: Indian show to go ahead despite Ebola outbreak
Posted on Aug 08 2014 | IANS
By Francis Kokutse, Accra, Aug 8 : A three-day "Indian Show" scheduled for Aug 26-29 in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos will go ahead in spite of the reported cases of Ebola virus disease in that country, Ranjit Jabbi, director of trade fairs division of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), has told IANS.
The West African region is facing an outbreak of the Ebola virus disease which the World Health Organisation (WHO) said has killed 932 people in four countries in the region, namely Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
According to a statement by India's Minister of Health and Family Affairs Harsh Vardhan Aug 6, "in view of the reports of outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in four countries of West Africa, namely, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, it is recommended that non-essential travel to these countries be deferred till such time that the Ebola virus disease outbreak situation is brought under control".
But in a telephone conversation, Jabbi said: "Our official position is that the show is going ahead as scheduled unless any advisory from either the Indian or Nigerian government says otherwise."
The show, which is being held in association with the Indian high commission in Nigeria and supported by India's department of commerce under the commerce and industry ministry, is an initiative of the government of India to promote "Brand India" and the Indian industry overseas, especially in developing countries and emerging markets with a demand for Indian products and technologies.
In his statement, Vardhan said figures by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs indicate that there are about 4,700 Indians in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone from where maximum cases are reported.
"The number in each of these countries is 500, 3,000 and 1,200, respectively. The figure for Liberia includes about 300 personnel from the Indian Central Reserve Police Force, comprising largely women, as a part of the UN Peace keeping operations. Nigeria has a much larger presence of nearly 40,000 Indian citizens," he added.
He said there were indications that if the situation worsened in the affected countries, there could be possibility of these Indians travelling back to India.
The minister also said that, according to the Indian defence ministry, there are about 7,000 Indian troops deployed in the African continent, but not in the affected countries.
The Indian high commission in Accra, which is accredited to Ghana, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone and Togo told IANS that "the general health advisories issued by the government agencies in these countries are circulated to the Indian community members in these countries through the mission's social media pages and also the honorary consuls".
"We understand that members of the Indian community in these countries themselves are updating themselves about the disease and the precautions required to be taken through the media - print, electronic and the internet," the high commission added.
The "Indian Show" is expected to be attended by a high-level Indian business delegation led by the CII president and will include chief executive officers and top management officials of companies from sectors like infrastructure, healthcare, banking, engineering and Agriculture who are desirous of exploring opportunities and partners in Nigeria.
According to the CII, the event was intended to provide an opportunity for both the Nigerian and Indian entrepreneurs to interact with each other for investments, joint ventures and cooperation in their respective fields.
(Francis Kokutse can be contacted at [email protected])