ZIMBABWE should target about $500 million for infrastructure projects from the $10 billion line of credit India made available for African countries, the south Asian nation has said.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
The $10 billion line of credit was unveiled in March.
Indian ambassador to Zimbabwe Rungsung Masakui told NewsDay last week that his government was interested in infrastructure projects in power, renewable energy and agriculture mechanisation.
“If we put this all together maybe you can get $400 or $500 million and see how we can add on other products as the months go depending on how much has already been cornered by other African countries,” he said.
“It depends on how much you can absorb also because this $10 billion is promised to all African countries, so it is not just specific to Zimbabwe. We do not set aside a quota to say this batch is for this country or that country, there is nothing like that so it is something like a first come, first serve basis based on the viability of the project. But, you cannot just absolve, the institutions are not there and the structure are not clear themselves these are huge funds so more is needed in this regard.”
Masakui said there was a need for locals to keep pushing for the funding of their projects since India and Zimbabwe followed more formal systems.
“The trade relationship volume is really not encouraging as of now and that there is a need to activate activities,” Masakui said.
In March, India’s President Ram Nath Kovind unveiled a $10 billion credit line for African countries to help support economic growth in each of the particular countries.
However, progress by Zimbabwean businesses has been slow in seeking ways of tapping into those resources.
In just trade alone, the Zimbabwe National Statistics body reported that Zimbabwe exported a meagre $61 083 to India while imports from that country were $52,14 million that is negatively skewed against Zimbabwe.
Masakui said power infrastructure was where players could find success with some lines of credit.
“Right now we you are importing from Eskom and Mozambique, so it is kind of an import substitution if you are developing or adding capacity to your power industry here in Zimbabwe. It means you are not importing and the drainage of foreign exchange is saved while at the same time you servicing your own industry with power you generate from your own plants,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Indian Embassy celebrated India’s National Day in Harare on Tuesday wherein the country celebrated, among other things, the growth of its economy with Kovind calling for a new India by 2022.