Vice-President on tri-nation African visit next week

December 31st, 2009 - 6:36 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 31 (IANS) Several agreements are expected to be signed during Vice-President Hamid Ansari’s three-nation visit to Africa Jan 5-12.
Ansari will travel to Zambia, Malawi and Botswana in south-eastern Africa and a number of agreements will be inked during the visit, officials said Thursday.

India has several business interests in Zambia, especially in the mining sector. There had been substantial Indian investment in the African country, which amounts to over $2 billion.

Former president R. Venkataraman had made a state visit to Zambia in 1989. The last high-level visit to India was by Zambian President Levy P. Mwanawasa in 2003.

There is a substantial community of persons of Indian origin in Zambia, several of whom run large business groups in the African nation.

The visit to Malawi comes at a significant time when President Bingu wa Mutharika will take over as chairman of the 53-member African Union in January.

India is trying to improve its economic relations with Botswana, which has a large community of Indian professionals. The two countries had signed a deal in 2001 for providing each other Most Favoured Nation treatment.

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