India, Mozambique sign 3 credit lines for $216 mn

New Delhi, July 5 (IANS) India and Mozambique have signed three Line of Credit (LoC) agreements worth $216.4 million for developmental works in Mozambique.

The LoCs in the areas of drinking water supply, roads and housing development, were signed during the ongoing visit of Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur to Mozambique, the ministry announced Friday.

Kaur, who is visiting Mozambique July 4-6 for the third session of the India- Mozambique Joint Commission, told a forum of business people from both countries that the two countries are also considering a new trade agreement to boost cooperation.

India-Mozambique trade has doubled from $631.76 million in 2011-12 to $1.28 billion in 2012-13, thus surpassing the one billion US dollars bilateral trade target set during Mozambique President Armando Guebuza's state visit to India in 2010.

"India also is committed to continue to assist Mozambique in its socio-economic developmental efforts in various ways, including through Line of Credits," Kaur told the gathering of entrepreneurs from both countries in Maputo, the Mozambique capital.

India has extended Lines of Credit worth $640 million to Mozambique.

India is the 8th largest foreign investor in Mozambique with total investments estimated at more than $500 million.

There are already several bilateral agreements to benefit business communities of both countries, including on avoidance of double taxation, for promotion and protection of investments, and the duty free tariff preference scheme for Least Developed Countries.

The Indian delegation to Mozambique comprises entrepreneurs looking at investment opportunities in various sectors, especially agriculture, construction, water resources, energy and technologies.

Kaur's visit to Mozambique and to Tanzania (July 8-10) is significant from India's energy security perspective, with the recent discovery of large reserves of gas in the Indian Ocean off Mozambique and Tanzania.

"It is estimated that there are 23 billion tonnes of coal reserves and 150 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in Mozambique and to exploit these resources, big investments are required. This presents a great opportunity for the Indian companies to take part in the development of related infrastructure like railways, roads, ports, gas pipelines, fertiliser plant, power plants," Kaur said

Last June, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Oil India acquired 10 percent stake in the Area 1 oil block in northern Mozambique's Rovuma Basin at a cost of $2.5 billion and the Indian public sector companies now hold a 20 percent interest in the Anadarko-led consortium operating the oil block.

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