Relations between the East African Community (EAC) and India are set to get better especially in the areas of trade, cultural exchange and development cooperation, following a new commitment.
The India High Commissioner to Tanzania and representative to the EAC, Sandeep Arya, said his country was keen on strengthening trade and cultural ties with the five-member regional bloc which date back several centuries.
Arya was speaking after presenting his credentials to the EAC Secretary General, Amb. Richard Sezibera, at the EAC Secretariat in Arusha, on Tuesday.
In a statement, the Indian envoy said his country already had bilateral projects in most of the EAC Partner States particularly in health and agriculture, adding that they wanted to partner with the EAC to boost trade volumes and promote industrial growth in East Africa.
Arya promised to work closely with the Confederation of Indian Industries and the Indian Exim Bank in these initiatives, noting that these partnerships should for a start be between these two institutions and the East African Development Bank (EADB) and the East African Business Council (EABC).
Dr Sezibera thanked the vast South Asian country for its support to the Partner States, singling out the scholarships granted to students from the Partner States to study in India.
He also cited the support granted to the Community by India in the preparation of the East African Railways Master Plan the implementation of which he said would revolutionise the transport sector in the region.
India’s Exim Bank has extended Lines of Credit (LOC) of a total of $120.05 million to the Government of Rwanda for financing irrigation projects; and WAPCOS, an Indian firm that deals in water resources development and management, is implementing the development of irrigation infrastructure in Kirehe District, under a $24 million (about Rwf18 billion) partnership deal signed between Rwanda and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation in July.
The irrigation project occupies a total of 9,000 hectares.
In 2013, the Exim Bank of India identified 15 African countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria, as good investment destinations.