Export-Import Bank of India said on Tuesday it has extended $20 million line of credit to the West African country of Cote d’Ivoire for financing the Mahatma Gadhi IT and Biotechnology (BT) park project.
“The IT-BT park will enable Indian IT and biotech companies to access West African markets with ease, as the project will be a dedicated free trade zone,” the Bank said in a statement here.
The funding is part of the Indian government’s techno-economic approach for Africa-India Movement initiative to engage the under-developed yet resource-wealthy countries of West Africa, which require both low-cost technology and investment to develop their infrastructure.
The eight African countries are Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mali and Senegal.
The park is located in Grand-Bassam, a historic seaside town, on the outskirts of the country’s commercial capital of Abidjan.
The Park’s village of IT and biotechnology will be responsible for management, operations and promotion of the zone.
“The village will provide professional and support services for companies, manage business incubators and the proposed Human Capital Reinforcement Institute,” the statement said.
As the world’s largest producer of cocoa, and the largest African producer of coffee, pineapple, banana, oil, rubber and cotton, Cote d’Ivoire is a leader of the economic and monetary union of West Africa.
The country is the first financial centre of West Africa with a regional stock exchange and second largest seaport in Africa. It is also a hub of the airline industry in the region.
“Indian companies are invited to form joint ventures with West African firms to provide services in the park and develop strategic partnership assisted under the Bank’s overseas investment finance programme,” the statement added.