Jyotiraditya Scindia Pushes for Investment Agreement with Zimbabwe
India and Zimbabwe agreed to expedite the ratification of BIPA ( Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement) between India and Zimbabwe for further strengthening the investment and trade ties between the two countries. This was one of the important outcomes of the bilateral meetings between Hon`ble minister of state Commerce and Industries Mr. Jyotiraditya M. Scindia and his counterpart minister from Zimbabwe Government. Mr. Scindia is on a visit to Zimbabwe accompanied by a business delegation.
Mr. Scindia held wide ranging discussions with Mr. W. Nucbe minister of industry and commerce Zimbabwe. During the discussions Mr. Scindia referred to the historical ties and their common struggle against colonialism and apartheid. Mr. Scindia complimented the Zimbabwe Government for their recently launched Midterm Plan which aims to promote economic growth and sustainable development in the country. He offered India`s full support in the development of telecom, highways and railways sectors. In particular, in the rail sector where India had gained considerable expertise in laying of tracks and development of rolling stock, IRCON and RITES could assist Zimbabwe in the expansion and rehabilitation of its rail infrastructure. In the aviation sector also India could provide technical assistance to Zimbabwe.
Apart from bilateral meeting with Mr. W Nucbe , bilateral meetings were also held with Mr. N.T. Goche minister of transport and Infrastructure, Minister of energy, and the Minister of agriculture . Mr. Scindia informed his Zimbabwe counterpart that it had been decided to further strengthen the India-Zimbabwe bilateral ties by setting up Rural technology Park and Food testing laboratory in Zimbabwe.
Addressing the business conference "Doing Business in Zimbabwe: Investment opportunities and Challenges", organized by the Confederation of Indian Industries, Hon`ble minister announced the setting up of the Indo-Zimbabwe Chamber of Commerce, which will facilitate interaction between the business communities of both the countries and facilitate interaction between business and Government at both ends. The business conference was attended by Mr. N.T. Goche minister of transport and Infrastructure, minister of energy, minister of agriculture and deputy minister of health , Government of Zimbabwe.
Mr. Scindia stressed that there is scope for significant diversification of Indian exports to Zimbabwe, and Zimbabwean exports to India, and to substantially increase the present low level of bilateral trade of US $ 125 mn registered in 2010-11. He highlighted the fact that in the coming years maximum growth will be from south-south trade amongst the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Addressing a press conference in Harare, Mr. Scindia said "When I look at the potential of our bilateral trade and investment relations, I am quite convinced that we have only touched the tip of the iceberg. A resurgent Indian economy has much to offer Zimbabwe in terms of investments, technology, skills, products and services in diverse economic and social streams. The challenge, for all of us, lies in translating this potential and promise into multiple partnerships in diverse business sectors."
The minister also appreciated the contribution of 10000 strong Indian Diaspora in Zimbabwe to the economy of Zimbabwe. Speaking about the potential areas of cooperation between the two countries, he mentioned that Zimbabwe has the world’s largest platinum reserves and also possesses large reserves of gold, coal, asbestos, copper, nickel and iron ore. Indian mining companies could partner Zimbabwean mining majors in key value-added activities. He also mentioned about other business sectors, such as renewable energy, where Indian and Zimbabwean companies could strike project partnerships.
In the afternoon Mr. Scindia also called on the vice president HE Mrs. Joyce Mujuru and discussed about the existing state of the bilateral relations and possibility of taking the relations to the next level.
Indian public sector companies had a successful history of engagement with Zimbabwe and companies like Indian Railway Construction Company (IRCON), Rail India Technical & Economic Services (RITES), Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS) and Telecommunications India Ltd., (TCIL) had executed projects in Zimbabwe. Coal India had bid for development of coal mines in Zimbabwe. Kirlosker and Jain Irrigation have supplied pumps and irrigation equipment. India is helping Zimbabwe in capacity building and assisting in developing its own research and knowledge base by sharing experiences in various sectors such as SME, Power, Agriculture etc. Zimbabwe will soon join other African countries that are benefiting from the Pan-African e-Network, a project that will connect all 53 countries of the African Union (AU) with a satellite and fibre optic for sharing India´s expertise in education and health. Government of India also provides assistance to Zimbabwe under the ITEC programme for capacity building.