BUSINESS

India, Africa explore new opportunities

EXPERTISE: The new DEMU trains rolling out of the Integral Coach Factory carriage, Perambur in Chennai for export to Angola.

EXPERTISE: The new DEMU trains rolling out of the Integral Coach Factory carriage, Perambur in Chennai for export to Angola.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: S.Thanthoni



Namibia will be helped in developing infrastructure projects

India to benefit from assured supply of oil, minerals and rough diamonds from Africa.

It is almost after two decades of lost opportunities that India and Africa have now started a new innings of economic cooperation and collaboration that is bound to help both in the long run. While Africa is seeking technical support in various sectors and participation from the Indian Government as well as its private sector in building its economy and infrastructure, India is looking forward to make Africa its key ally to fulfil its future needs of natural resources.

While the Africa-India Forum Summit being organised in Delhi this week (April 4-9) will give a much needed boost to the overall ties between the two partners, groundwork to strengthen ties between the two trading blocks is being done at the government level for the past few years. It is particularly the present Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government that is making extra efforts to bridge the gap between India and the African nations.

One such initiative was taken by Union Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh last week when he visited the two booming African economies of Namibia and Angola and succeeded in ensuring that India plays a major role in the economic development of the two south African nations that are rich in diamond, crude oil and minerals. While the two nations have asked India’s help in developing their railways, education, mining and power sector, India will be benefited by getting assured supply of oil, minerals and rough diamonds, which are crucial for the growth and development of the Indian economy.

In Angola, it was decided that the first meeting of the ‘Joint Economic Commission’ (JEC) of the two nations would be held in October this year. Another major breakthrough was in the field of diamonds where Angola’s largest diamond producing company Endiama has agreed to do business directly with the Indian diamond industry. In return, India has promised to open an ‘institute for jewellery manufacturing’ and also a diamond cutting and polishing centre in Angola, which is the third largest producer of roughs in the world.

Angola, a member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and third largest producer of crude in Africa, has also agreed to facilitate the bid of an oil consortium that includes ONGC Videsh, in three off-shore oil blocks. ONGC Videsh will be investing $1 billion in these oil blocks. Angola has also offered a 30 per cent stake to India in its upcoming Libito refinery.

On its part, India has promised to set up a centre of excellence in petroleum technology, besides constructing gas-based 300 MW power plant, rebuilding its railway infrastructure and its financial sector. India will also give technical support in the field of education and mining, particularly in the field of coal and iron ore.

Joint working group

Similarly, India and Namibia will set up a joint working group to prepare a detailed plan for long-term partnership in the diamond sector where India will help Namibia in value-addition to its diamond industry, while India will be able to procure rough diamonds for its own cutting and polishing industry. India will help Namibia on major infrastructure projects including modernisation of its crucial 300-km rail link between Walvis Bay and Windhoek. India has also offered help to set up a 300 MW power plant in Namibia, while the two governments have agreed to cooperate in the mining sector covering exploration, beneficiation and processing.

In the education sector, India will help the University of Namibia to establish a Faculty of IT, a Faculty of Mining Technology and a Faculty of Management.

Amazed by the growth and success of the Indian private sector, both the African nations have shown keen interest in allowing India Inc. to set up shop in their countries. It is not just Indians who are eagerly awaiting commercial launch of the world’s cheapest car Tata’s Nano, Africans also want to ride one very soon. Impressed by the success of Tata Motors, Angola’s leading diamond company Endiama wants to tie up with Tata Motors to manufacture its own commercial vehicles, while others are looking at Mahindra and Mahindra for its tractors to revive their agriculture sector.

The success of Indian information technology giants in South Africa has now led to demands from various other African nations to TCS, Infosys, Satyam and Wipro to set up their units so that they too can catch up with the IT revolution that is happening around the globe.

SANDEEP JOSHI

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