India, Zimbabwe decide to enhance SME cooperation

India and Zimbabwe have decided to further enhance their cooperation in the priority sectors of cooperation namely, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, health sector, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), informed the Ministry of Commerce & Industry. 

"India's commitment to deepen and diversify the trade and investment ties between India and Zimbabwe," said the Union Minister of Commerce & Industry Anand Sharma, during a bilateral meeting of with Joice T R Mujuru, Vice President of Zimbabwe and Michael Bimha, Industry and Commerce Minister of Zimbabwe, in Harare on Monday.

Sharma also met Patrick Chinamasa, Zimbabwe's Minister of Finance. Sharma informed the Zimbabwean side that in addition to the assistance being offered under the Lines of Credit, India is willing to provide assistance under the Buyers' Credit Programme. India, in September 2012, approved a LoC worth USD 28.6 million for up-gradation of Deka Pumping Station and the River Water Intake System in Zimbabwe. 

During the discussions, it was also decided to speed up the implementation of various projects being executed under the India-Africa Forum Summit Programme, which include a Food Testing Laboratory, a Rural Training Park and a Vocational Training Centre. India is mulling to set up an FTL in Zimbabwe at an approximate cost of USD 2 million under the India-Africa Forum Summit-II. Under the IAFS-II, India is in the process of setting up Rural Technology Park in and a Vocational Training Centre (VTC)/Incubation Centre.

Sharma offered to the Zimbabwean side to organize a special dedicated programme to train the Government officials and private sector executives in international trade. This training will be organized at the Centre for WTO Studies, Indian Institute for Foreign Trade, New Delhi. IIFT's offer is to conduct an Executive Development Programme on International Business in Zimbabwe, which will be conducted for a period of one week for about 60 participants from the Zimbabwean side.

The Indian Minister offered India's full assistance in implementing the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZIMASSET) programme in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture, food production, mining, capacity development. 

In order to identify areas of cooperation in the field of production of generics, a delegation from PHARMEXCIL will visit Zimbabwe to have deliberations with Zimbabwean industry and Government. 

While India's export to Zimbabwe stood at USD 133.08 million in 2012, it rose to USD 176.26 million in 2013. On the other hand, India's imports to Zimbabwe decreased from USD 33.02 million in 2012 to USD 10.29 million in 2013, informed ministry in release. 

India exports drugs, pharmaceuticals & chemicals, machinery and instruments, electronic goods and plastic & linoleum products as major commodities to Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe, on the other hand exports cotton, tea, non-ferrous metals and spices to India as principal commodities, it added.