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African countries seek investments from India, list priority areas

Posted on Mar 14 2014 | IANS

By Rohit Vaid, New Delhi, March 14 : Several African countries have invited Indian investments in the agro-processing sectors of their economies, citing tremendous opportunities in value addition and exports of raw commodities.

Countries like Uganda, Zimbabwe and Mozambique are among many who invited Indian companies to invest during the recently concluded CII-Exim Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership held earlier this week.

These countries sought also Indian expertise in the sector.

"Our government is inviting Indian investors into Uganda. We recommend areas like agro-processing, setting up of petroleum industries and participation in the transport sectors," Ugandan Finance, Planning and Economic Development Minister Maria Kiwanuka told IANS.

The minister also sought India's participation in the energy sector, citing that various hydro, gas and geo-thermal projects are on the way in Uganda.

"We would also like to see Indian participation in our power sector. We have several hydro, gas and geo-thermal projects coming up," she added.

Apart from recently-found oil and gas reserves, the country also seeks Indian investments in exploring its huge reserves of non-oil minerals like cobalt, uranium, and graphite.

Zimbabwe has also invited Indian companies for adding value to its agro-processing industries.

"We'd also like you to help set up agro-processing plants to make mango, guava and other juices, and then export them to India," Zimbabwe's Minister for Small and Medium Enterprises Sithembiso G. Nyoni said.

"We'd like you to transfer your small machines technology to Zimbabweans, so that they can take it up and build the machines themselves."

Nyoni also offered specific partnership proposal whereby Indian companies could import mangoes from Zimbabwe during the flowering season in India.

Mozambique asked for lines of credit for the development of its infrastructure sector.

Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco said the credits received from India could be used for development of roads and energy infrastructure.

"With electrification in rural Mozambique, a new range of industries, like agro-processing industry, is in place. Now Mozambique even exports food grains and we are exporting around 60,000 tonnes of pulses. We export pulses to India as well," said Pacheco.

India has provided Mozambique over USD 600 million in the last four-five years, of which 10 percent has gone to agriculture.

(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at rohit.d@ians.in)

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