In his maiden Africa visit, Modi will focus on long-term energy agreements

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 17, 2018


The Prime Minister will visit Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya from July 7-11.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to the four African countries of Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya will be focussed on securing long-term energy contracts.

Modi will be on his maiden visit to Africa from July 7-11.

With the slowdown in China that has resulted in the reduction of energy and raw material imports, the African continent is looking at India to buttress its export revenues, sources told BusinessLine.

“We want to cash in on the Chinese absence. Mozambique is purely focussed on obtaining gas and securing sizeable contracts,” a top official said, adding that a general Memorandum on Agreement (MoU) may be signed.

Modi will be in Mozambique only for a day and his discussions with the officials will be mostly on energy. This will be the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister in 34 years.

“Our focus on these visits is mainly going to be energy. Mozambique is the third-largest exporter of natural gas after Qatar and Australia,” said Amar Sinha, Secretary (Economic Relations), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

ONGC has invested $5 billion in Mozambique. Besides, International Coal Ventures Ltd (ICVL), which has been formed by a consortium of SAIL, NMDC and others, bought over the coal mines of Rio Tinto there in 2014 for around $50 million.

However, not much production has happened since then.

“The actual production has happened in small amounts, basically because by the time we got into acquiring these assets, the global commodity prices have fallen down.

“But we are staying the course and we are maintaining these assets and hoping that as the prices of gas and oil rise our imports will continue,” Sinha said.

From Mozambique, Modi goes to Tanzania, where again he will be pushing for signing long-term contracts on gas imports.

Tech procurement

In South Africa, India will seek to procure technologies related to coal gasification as well as deep mining.

“We already have cooperation in this; we would now like to intensify these,” Sinha said.

Modi will conclude his Africa trip in Kenya, which is an important evacuation point for Indian assets in Sudan.

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan recently visited Africa in an effort to increase oil imports from the region. According to him, the Centre wants to expand its energy basket by going for geographic diversification.

(Inputs from Richa Mishra)

Published on July 06, 2016

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