By Golden Sibanda
ZIMBABWE is set to receive US$440 million in lines of credit from India to support projects identified by the Industrial Development Corporation.This is the culmination of talks concluded yesterday with the signing of a bilateral agreement signed in Harare.
Speaking to the media after the signing, Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube said India had agreed to fund the projects. What remained was to finalise the details for formal processes to begin.
"There are projects with the Industrial Development Corporation," he said. "We presented them (to the Indian Government) and in principle they have been accepted them and we now need to work together to finalise the details."
Minister Ncube spoke at the end of a two-day Zimbabwe-India Joint Trade Committee Meeting to promote and expand trade cooperation.
Head of the 16-member Indian delegation, Industry, Commerce and Textile Minister Anand Sharma, said some of the projects were being processed. One was under execution while more information was required for others. The projects for which Zimbabwe is seeking funding include the renovation of the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals and Gairezi hydro-power project.
The Indian minister called on Zimbabwe to submit project-funding proposals for financial support under an Indian buyers' credit facility.
The facility allows Government and related institutions to access credit on terms of up to 20 years.
"We have offered today, the buyers' credit facility of which there is a very special dispensation for countries in the sub-region and Africa," he said.
"This credit is available on very economic terms for infrastructure projects."
Minister Sharma said India "would be happy to have (Zimbabwe) proposals from you to come under this project", initiated two years ago.
The buyers' credit facility allows African governments and state-owned entities to secure funding from India to finance various infrastructure projects.
Mr Sharma said India was committed to helping Zimbabwe increase its export trade with India. India also pledged support in several other areas, such as industrial cluster development and building beneficiation capacity.
These include water and infrastructure, energy, manufacturing, mining, science and technology, textiles, pharmaceuticals, craftwork and SME development.
"India is committed to support infrastructure building and all those projects and initiatives which help in capacity building," he said.
Mr Sharma called on officials constituting the India-Zimbabwe Joint Trade Committee Meeting to put in place mechanisms to expedite agreed initiatives.
"This committee of senior officials (from India and Zimbabwe) should put in place mechanisms of monitoring projects and intervening when required if they see that there is delay (in implementation)," the minister said.
As a commitment to helping with capacity technological building in Zimbabwe, India ensured the country became part of 47 African countries connected to a worldwide satellite system as part of bridging the digital divide.
The Indian government is building a vocational training centre in Zimbabwe, a food-testing laboratory, rural technology park and an incubation centre and IT centres for children.