April 14, 2004

India cancels debts

The Indian government has decided to cancel all Mozambican public debt to India, amounting to about 3.8 million US dollars. According to a note from the Mozambican Foreign Ministry, the Indian government has also expressed its willingness to discuss possible alternatives for dealing with private debt, estimated at six million dollars. Under current Mozambican legislation, this could include conversion of the debt into investment. India has also made available a line of credit of 20 million dollars, intended to promote projects that will import goods and services from India. This form of tied aid comes with a total repayment period of 20 years, a period of grace of five years, and annual interest of 1.75 per cent.

In order to use the funds available from this line of credit, some Indian companies, in partnership with Mozambican businesses, are drawing up projects in such areas as rural electrification, and the pharmaceutical and food industries.

In this context, the Mozambican and Indian governments have also agreed to continue with the joint patrols of the Mozambican coast that began during the heads of state summit of the African Union, held in Maputo in July 2003. According to a source in the Mozambican Foreign Ministry, the two countries have also begun to negotiate a bilateral agreement in the defence sphere, and are studying mechanisms for establishing partnerships under which the Mozambican Armed Forces (FADM) will be supplied with foodstuffs and uniforms.

In the area of higher education, three Mozambican students have been attending a course on information and communication technologies in the Indian city of Bangalore since 2003. Another 16 Mozambican students are due to begin university level courses in agriculture and livestock in India as from August this year. Under the existing cooperation agreement with India, the Mozambican government also intends to recruit 39 Indian doctors. A team from the Mozambican Health Ministry has gone to India to interview candidates. The Ministry hopes that the doctors will be able to start working in Mozambique by June. (Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, Maputo)

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