India to roll out red carpet for Mali president

January 9th, 2012 - 5:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS) India kicks off its Africa diplomacy this year by rolling out the red carpet for President Amadou Toumani Toure of Mali, the landlocked mineral-rich West African country, during his three-day state visit that begins here Tuesday.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will hold talks with Toure Wednesday to ramp up bilateral ties across the spectrum, including the intensification of economic ties and developmental cooperation between the two countries.

The two sides will also discuss a cluster of global issues, including the international financial crisis, counter-terrorism, the UN reforms and climate change.

Some agreements in the areas of developmental cooperation and capacity building are expected to be signed after the talks, said informed sources.

Mali is Africa’s second largest producer of long staple cotton after Egypt and the third largest producer of gold in the continent.

Toure, popularly known as “soldier of democracy”, will also address top industry leaders at an interactive lunch where he is expected to pitch for greater Indian investment in his country.

The two sides will explore collaboration in areas of agriculture and agro-processing industries that have huge potential.

India’s relations with Mali have been steadily growing in the past decade. During 2009-10, goods worth $42.24 million were exported to Mali from India. Indian exports to Mali includes electricity transmission, cotton fabrics, cycle parts, machinery and machine parts, transport equipment, drugs and pharmaceuticals, and processed food items. India’s imports from Mali are limited to raw cotton and few agro products like shea nuts.

India has provided several lines of credit (soft loans) to a swathe of infrastructure projects to Mali. These include $15mn for rural electrification, $12 million for agro-machinery and tractor assembly plant, 11 million in three tranches for electricity transmission and distribution projects from Cote D’Ivoire to Mali, $20.62 million for acquiring railway coaches and locomotives from India and $15 million for development of agro-industries.

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