India invited to make huge investments in Africa: Mozambique


New Delhi : Mozambique’s Prime Minister Aires Bonifacio Baptista Ali Monday invited Indian corporates to make “huge investments” in Africa and contribute to the diversification and economic resurgence of the continent.

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“Indian multinational companies, small and medium enterprises and individuals are already investing in Africa, and the results are encouraging. Indeed, we would like to reiterate our warm invitation to all Indian business people to make huge investments in Africa, and join our efforts geared to boost and diversify our economies, thus contributing to African development,” Baptista Ali said in his special address to the India-Africa Conclave inaugural ceremony.

Mozambique is the partner country at the seventh CII-Exim Bank conclave on India Africa Project Partnership, which is being attended by several ministerial delegations from Africa. Togo’s Prime Minister Gilbert Houngbo was also on the dais, as his country was accorded the guest country status.

The Mozambican prime minister noted that the conclave was taking place in a moment characterised by growing instability and upheavals in Middle East and increasing signs of economic and financial instability worldwide due to increase in oil and food prices.

“This represents a challenge and an opportunity for our countries. We need to devise innovative approaches to promote peace, stability, democracy and well-being to our citizens and nations,” he said.

He suggested that India could tap opportunities arising from regional trade agreements in Africa, as well as preferential trade agreements signed with large western economies.

Ali said that Africa and India were important players in the global economy. While Africa was a resurgent economy with large strategic resources, India had the advantage of a vast market and an acknowledged record in innovative technologies.

“Africa is strongly committed to promote private sector initiatives and south-south cooperation as key engines of economic growth in order to eradicate poverty and promote development in our countries,” he said, adding that India is a “key partner in this process”.

Echoing these sentiments, India’s Commerce Minister Anand Sharma asserted that “the partnership between India and Africa will be the defining one of the 21st century”.

He wanted to “reaffirm India’s solidarity with Africa”. Sharma delineated historical linkages, putting emphasis on joint experience of independence struggles and the role of Mahatma Gandhi.

“It was his commitment that India and Africa should work together,” said Sharma.

He spoke about how Indian pharmaceutical companies had been able to reduce the price of HIV anti-retroviral drugs from thousands of dollars to just $400, even as they faced challenges, legal and otherwise, from global cartels.

“India will not allow it to happen where life saving drugs are out of reach for poor people,” he said.

Sharma noted that the current trade volume between India and Africa is $45 billion. “The target is to reach $75 billion by 2015. I am sure, we will reach it before that,” he added.

Two lines of credit were signed at the end of the inaugural session – $20 million for Mozambique and $36 million for Tanzania.