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Africa-India partnership at the centre of discussions: an opportunity for shared experience in project financing in Africa

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Africa-India Partnership Day was one of the major events of the 2015 African Development Bank Annual Meetings. Jointly organized on May 27 in Abidjan by the AfDB’s Private Sector Department and the Export-Import Bank of India, it brought together financiers, sponsors, contractors, researchers and other key actors of Africa and India’s private sector for networking and identifying business opportunities mutually beneficial for the continent and India. The Ministry of Finance of India and the Embassy of India spearheaded the event.

In his plenary presentation, Exim Bank of India Managing Director, Yaduvendra Mathur underscored the importance of Africa-India partnership, which he described as promising and an opportunity for sharing experience in the areas of project financing through loans and guarantees.

The Managing Director said his institution is committed to accompanying both Africa and India’s development, affirming that Exim Bank of India is particularly interested in the agriculture, high tech and infrastructure (energy and power, transport, ICT) sectors. In this respect, he announced the upcoming opening of a branch of Exim Bank of India in Côte d’Ivoire, and also said that his institution would continue to support Indian enterprises willing to invest in those sectors in Africa.

He also reported that Exim Bank of India facilitates joint investments by Indian and overseas company in African markets in addition to facilitating investments as well as exports from African companies in to India. “As of March 31, 2015, Exim Bank has supported five such ventures amounting to $447.3 million in West Africa,” Marthur said.  On the institutional and research levels, the meeting also heard that Exim Bank of India has been consciously forging a network of alliances and institutional linkages to help further economic cooperation while promoting and facilitating bilateral trade and investment between India and the African region.

The conference was also marked by a panel discussion on project development and co-financing, with the Ivorian Commerce Minister, Jean-Louis Billon; AfDB Private Sector Development Director Department Director, Kodeidja Diallo; Exim Bank of India Chief General Manager, Prahalathan S.; and Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services of India (IL&FS) Ltd. Senior Vice-President, Sanjay Ghag as panel members. Each of them expressed the need for deepening India-Africa cooperation, to boost Africa’s development.

Speaking on behalf of Solomom Asamoah, AfDB Vice-President in charge of Infrastructure, Regional Integration and Private Sector (OPSD), Kodeidja Diallo, underscored the Bank’s role in financing private sector projects in the region and dwelled on the collaboration between India and the AfDB, which dates back to the time India became a member of the African Development Fund in 1982 and of the African Development Bank in 1983.

An interactive Q&A session provided an opportunity to take away practical ideas about the India-Africa partnership, where the AfDB Private Sector Director affirmed that the doors are open for Indian infrastructure companies, as contractors, suppliers and, more importantly, sponsors.

She also noted that since 2009, the Export-Import Bank of India and the AfDB have worked more closely together. One of the results of this tighter collaboration is the establishment of the Kukuza Project Development Company – an infrastructure venture investment company – with a total capitalization of USD 25 million, with Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited (IL & FS Ltd.), the Exim Bank of India, and the State Bank of India, Allied Investment Partners of Abu Dhabi as co-shareholders along with the AfDB.”

Exim Bank of India was also reported to be one of only a few partners that work with Africa through the AfDB.  “It has extended concessional Lines of Credit to African countries with a target of infrastructure development, like in the DR Congo, where it has issued a Line of Credit of about USD 170 million for financing and development of hydro power plants,” said AfDB’s Diallo.

“Whether, among producers, distributors, importers and exporters, or among companies and the financial sector, the collaborative approach remains essential,” she said.

Exim Bank of India, with its comprehensive range of financing, advisory and support services, made it clear that it seeks to create an enabling environment for enhancing two-way flow of trade, investment and technology between India and the African region. It also aims to promote infrastructure development, facilitate private sector development in host countries, and contribute towards the institution-building in the region.

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