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India awaits ratification process for BIPA: Anand Sharma

March 29, 2011 - New Delhi

New Delhi, Mar 29 Emphasizing that the ratification process for the Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement (BIPA) is complete on Indian side, Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma today said that we are awaiting the ratification on the Zimbabwean side before exchanging the instruments of ratification and enabling the agreement to become operational.

During the bilateral meeting with Prof. Welshman Ncube, the Minister of Industry and Commerce Zimbabwe, here today, Sharma said: "The BIPA will provide a fillip to Indian investors seeking to enter Zimbabwe.

Emphasizing that "Indo-Zimbabwe Small and Medium Enterprises project, under which we provided machinery, equipment and training worth 5 million dollars, Sharma said: "We are planning to set up a Vocational Training Centre (VTC) in Zimbabwe to further develop skills and capacity in Zimbabwe".

He expressed appreciation over the 54 per cent stake taken by Essar Africa Holdings in Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO); which would be the largest Indian investment in Zimbabwe.

Sharma noted the possibilities in cooperation in science and technology between India and Zimbabwe, particularly in appropriate technologies in agriculture, agro-processing and renewable energy.

He stated that: "Our continued interest in education and capacity building programmes in Africa and in Zimbabwe in particular, is evident in our sponsoring Zimbabweans for study programmes under the ITEC and other courses. We have increased slots from 40 in 2008-09 to 90 for 2010-11 and we hope to cross 100 in 2011-12".

While reiterating strong and growing trade and investment relationship, Sharma said that: "Our continuing and accelerating engagement with Africa, the India-Africa Summit in April 2008 and the forthcoming India-Africa Forum Summit in May 2011, would make it more firm in terms of bilateral trade cooperation. India's carries special interest with Zimbabwe in mining, power generation, railways, ICT and agricultural sector in Zimbabwe".

Prof Ncube while appreciating India's role said, "Zimbabwe seeks to benefit from Indian assistance, in particular, in the health sector, e-governance, and technology".

Both the Minister underlined the importance to rejuvenate the Joint Trade Committee between India and Zimbabwe.


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