'Indian private sector can partner Republic of Congo economy'

Last Updated: Mon, Mar 10, 2014 13:10 hrs

New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) Indian companies can play a key role in the Republic of Congo's march towards becoming an emerging economy by year 2025, a senior minister of the central African country said here Monday.

"Indian companies could partner the Republic of Congo government in converting the country's comparative advantage in different sectors into competitive strengths," Industry Minister Isidore Mvouba of the Republic of Congo, also known as Congo Brazzaville, said addressing delegates at the 10th CII-EXIM Bank conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership.

The Republic of Congo (ROC) is the "Focus Country" at the three-day conclave that began Sunday.

In his address at a conclave plenary on "Industrialisation in Africa: Role of the Indian Private Sector", Mvouba said both the Indian government and industry have already participated in his country's rural electrification, urban transportation and food quality control projects, as well as in sectors like cement and pharmaceuticals.

Work is in progress under a Line of Credit agreement of $70 million signed in November 2011 for financing a rural electrification project in ROC.

Bilateral trade has hovered upwards of the half billion US dollars mark over the last few years. The main items of India's imports from ROC are metallic ores, petroleum, organic chemicals and semi-precious stones.

By end of the first decade of this century, the oil sector accounted for 65 percent of ROC's GDP, 85 percent of government revenue, and 92 percent of exports. The country also has large untapped mineral wealth. Rapidly rising oil revenues have enabled the government to finance large-scale development projects with GDP growth averaging 5 percent annually, one of the highest rates in Africa.

Mvouba also said the President of the Republic of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, will make a state visit to India later this year.

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