India offers Burundi $40 million, sign pacts

September 18th, 2012 - 4:04 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 18 (IANS) India Tuesday offered a $40 million soft loan to Burundi, a mineral-rich country in eastern Africa, and signed a clutch of pacts in areas of rural development, education, and health and medicine to cement a burgeoning relationship.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held talks with Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza, who is on a three-day visit, on a range of issues including a review of India’s capacity building initiatives in Burundi, deepening trade and investment, and UN reforms.

After the talks, the two sides signed the agreements.

The pacts will enable the two countries to undertake structured cooperation in vital areas of human development where India’s experience can be of relevance to Burundi, Manmohan Singh said at a joint press conference with Nkurunziza.

Underlining India’s commitment to the development of infrastructure in Burundi, Manmohan Singh announced a new line of credit worth over $40 million to Burundi for a farm mechanization and food processing project.

This will be addition to the $80 million line of credit for the Kabu hydroelectric project committed earlier.

Manmohan Singh also urged the Burundi leader to facilitate Indian investment in agriculture, infrastructure and manufacturing.

The two leaders discussed a host of regional and global issues, including the fight against piracy and the need for reforms at the UN Security Council.

“India deeply appreciates Burundi’s support for its candidature as a permanent member of the reformed and expanded Security Council,” Manmohan Singh said.

Relations between India and Burundi have recorded a marked upswing since Burundi opened its mission in New Delhi three years ago.

Early this year, during the visit of Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur to capital Bujumbura, India and Burundi signed a general cooperation agreement.

Burundi will be hosting the India-Africa Institute of Educational Planning and Administration offered by India.

These initiatives are part of India’s commitment under the India-Africa Forum Summit initiative for capacity building and development.

India is also setting up an IT Centre of Excellence in Burundi.

“I hope these institutions will be operational soon and benefit not only our friends from Burundi but the whole of Africa,” said Manmohan Singh.

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