Exim Bank, FICCI mark Africa-India Partnership Day in Ivory Coast….reports Francis Kokutse
With preparations on for the upcoming Third India-Africa Forum Summit in October in New Delhi, an Africa-India Partnership Day was recently organised at Abidjan jointly by the Export-Import Bank of India and industry chamber FICCI for sharing India’s developmental experiences with Africa, particularly on the public-private partnership model of financing infrastructure development.
Speaking on the occasion, Dinesh Sharma, additional secretary in India’s department of economic affairs, said that India has signed the protocol for replenishment of technical cooperation worth $9.52 million with the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) to show India’s commitment to the region.
Addressing the gathering, India’s Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Dinesh Bhatia said: “India’s commitment is not just restricted to investment but also in the knowledge and skill development sphere through the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Program (ITEC).”
Under ITEC, the Indian government extends fully paid scholarships to participants in developing countries for studying a diverse range of subjects.
Kodeidja Diallo, director (Private Sector) African Development Bank, said a Project Development Company is to be launched in Africa to develop infrastructure projects in the continent.
India’s Exim Bank, in collaboration with the AfDB, is setting up a Project Development Company in Africa to identify and develop infrastructure projects with the aim of providing the Indian private sector an opportunity to invest in and implement such projects in Africa.
The PDC is expected to provide specialist project development expertise to take the infrastructure project from concept to commissioning. It will focus on infrastructure projects that have specific strategic interest to India.
The Exim Bank has also released a report documenting the manifold jump in trade in recent years between India and the West African regional grouping, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), whose members are Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo and Guinea-Bissa’.
India’s two-way trade with ECOWAS has seen a 12-fold increase from $1.9 billion in 2004 to $22.7 billion, the report, Enhancing Trade Relations with ECOWAS, says.
“While India’s total exports to ECOWAS have risen six-fold to $7 billion in 2013, India’s total imports from ECOWAS have risen 23-fold to $15.7 billion,” Exim Bank said.
“As a result, India’s trade balance with ECOWAS has turned negative in recent years, primarily due to the large and rising volume of crude petroleum imports,” the report added.
It placed India’s trade deficit with ECOWAS at $8.7 billion in 2013.