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The Export-Import Bank of India is set to augment its investments within a line of credit program endorsed by the government, aimed at funding Indian businesses seeking to tap into the burgeoning African markets, revealed the chief executive of the bank. This is a segment of a larger effort to broaden India’s trade links.

With increasing rivalry from China, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has amplified initiatives to enhance relations with African countries, using infrastructure project assistance and private investments from Indian businesses as a catalyst.

Harsha Bangari, managing director of Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of India, told Reuters, “Africa is becoming a big consuming continent and there Indian companies have huge potential to find a market.”

The state-controlled EXIM Bank, which serves a pivotal function in offering export financing and government-sanctioned loans to overseas nations, is presently backing over 300 small Indian firms to broaden their operations into African nations, she added.

“We are seeing a consistent and steady trend,” in increasing lines of credit and trade finance, she said, adding EXIM Bank had so far made a credit commitment of $12.8 billion to 42 African countries.

In the ongoing fiscal year, the bank anticipates generating funds ranging from $3 to $3.5 billion, primarily US dollar-denominated, to finance novel projects.

With an investment tally nearing $75 billion by Indian enterprises, India is ranked among the top five investors in Africa, as declared by government officials to African leaders during a three-day summit.

Trade between India and Africa surged to almost $100 billion in the fiscal year ending March 2023, and the Indian government has set a goal to elevate this figure to $200 billion by 2030.

As an element of India’s economic diplomacy, EXIM Bank has been involved with several African governments, including collaborations on a metro train project in Mauritius, bus exports from India to Senegal, and an electricity project in Gambia, Bangari confirmed.

“We have identified sustainable fuels and minerals for transport, renewable and clean energy, climate smart agriculture among other areas for supporting lending to the African countries,” she added.