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India a strong development partner of Rwanda: Ansari

Kigali, Feb 22  Vice President Hamid Ansari on Tuesday said India was Rwanda’s strong development partner.

“We in India see ourselves as a strong development partner to Rwanda. We are already cooperating in sectors such as solar electrification, food processing, skill development and hydropower projects,” Vice President Hamid Ansari said in an address at the University of Rwanda here.

“India’s engagement with Africa has its own unique script, based on what Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called ‘strong emotional link’ defined by our shared history of struggle against colonialism and our aspiration to bring prosperity to our people,” Ansari said.

Ansari is on a visit to Rwanda from February 19-21.

Speaking on the outcome of the visit of the Rwandan President Paul Kagame to India, Ansari said: “During President Kagame’s recent visit, an understanding has been reached for a new line of credit worth $80 million for a road project. We are also committed to continuing and enhancing the provision of scholarship for training of Rwanda civilians and defence personnel under various technical cooperation and cultural cooperation programmes.”

Kagame was on his maiden official visit to India from January 9-11.

During his visit, both sides agreed to raise the level of bilateral cooperation to a strategic partnership and India extended a $120 million credit to bring over 41,190 hectares of cultivable land under irrigation in the African country.

On the bilateral trade between the two nations, Ansari said: “Our bilateral trade has doubled over the last five years, but as $106 million, remains modest and much below its potential. Rwanda has a dynamic economy and ranks highly in the ease of doing business, providing many incentives for inventors.”

On Indian investments in the African agriculture sector and its market potential in India, he said: “The growing middle-class in urban India can become a dependable consumer for African food processing Industry.”

“India provides a long-term, stable and profitable market to the goods and services that Africa generates. For India, Africa has the potential to become a major contributor to our energy security and food security requirements. This is a ‘win-win’ situation.”

“The quantum of Indian investment in Africa has increased in recent years and is presently estimated to be about $35 billion, with a large part of it concentrated in Southern and Eastern Africa,” he added.

India has announced concessional credit of over $10 billion for Africa, over a period of next five years.

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