Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Mar 05, 2005
Industry & Economy
African nations seek partners for core sector projects
New Delhi , March 4
SEVERAL African governments and private enterprises, including those of Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, have invited Indian companies to be a part of ongoing and planned projects. These include road and rail transportation systems and oil and gas exploration.
While Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe have sought Indian partners for the construction of road and bridges, Egypt is looking at building railway tracks.
The two-day Indo-African summit, which was kicked off here , is being jointly organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), EXIM Bank, the Ministry of External Affairs, the Department of Commerce, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the African Development Bank (AfDB). Over 230 participants and 24 African countries are attending the summit.
Other sectors where Indian participants could find opportunities are project consultancy, risk management, power, energy, education, training, telecom, IT, water, sanitation, healthcare and pharmaceuticals.
For example, the Nigeria Investment Promotion Council is looking for an organisation to implement a pre-paid electricity metering project. In its project offer form, the council has explained that the project is for "commercial deployment of energy meters to consumers on a pilot basis and later on a permanent basis."
Tanzania, on the other hand, is looking for a player who would modernise and expand a production unit of absorbent gauge and surgical bandages. Gambia has sought Indian cooperation for establishing an assembly plant for supplying tractors within Gambia and for re-distribution to neighbouring countries.
EXIM Bank signed an agreement for extending a line of credit of $5 million to PTA Bank, aimed at promoting India's exports to 16 Eastern and Southern African member countries of PTA Bank. Mr T. C. Venkat Subramanian, Chairman and MD, Exim Bank, said that Exim Bank is actively facilitating investment by Indian companies in Africa in the form of joint ventures and wholly-owned subsidiaries.
Inaugurating the summit, the External Affairs Minister, Mr Natwar Singh, said that the UN Security Council should be reformed and expanded with new permanent members. Stressing that India is a legitimate candidate to the expanded Security Council, Mr Singh said, "In 2005, the UN Security Council should not function on the basis of the political realities of 1945." "We are not just the second largest country in terms of the Security Council; we are also the world's fourth largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity, and one of the largest contributors to peacekeeping operations," he added.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Mr E. V. K. S. Elangovan, said that Indian companies, both public and private, have shown a keen interest in participating in AfDB-funded projects. "We note that India's participation in projects being funded by AfDB in recent years has been improving but there is much more scope for broadening and expanding this participation," he said.
Mr Sunil Kant Munjal, President, CII, said that the Indian industry is keen to do more business with Africa.
"There is obviously scope to do more trade, given the geographical proximity of Africa with India," Mr Munjal felt. Trade between India and Africa was pegged at a little less than $4 billion between April and September 2004, but it was far below the trade potential, he said.
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