OIA's acknowledgement as a pioneering project management company in Africa came to the fore when FICCI invited its Chairman Ambassador Dr. V.B.Soni to lead a 17 member strong Indian business delegation to Liberia and Burkina Faso from April 7-14, 2013. The purpose of the visit was to expand business tie ups of Indian industry in new and emerging markets of Africa. The focus sectors during the visit included agriculture and agro-based industries, education, energy, infrastructure, ICT and mining and minerals.
During the visit to the two countries Ambassador of India to Liberia (with concurrent accreditation from Abidjan) Mr. Anil Sharan and Acting High Commissioner of India to Burkina Faso Mr. Ajaneesh Kumar(based in Accra) briefed and advised the delegation on various aspects of the concerned countries political, economic, strategic and social situation. They gave useful tips to tap the business potential that exists in the two countries. Honorary Consuls of India in both the capitals were also at hand to render whatever assistance required by the delegates.
During the visit the delegation called on the 1st Vice President Mr Boakai and other senior Ministers. At the India-Liberia Business Meet held at Monrovia on 8th April, 2013 Ambassador Dr. V.B. Soni as the leader of the delegation said that, "India and Liberia relations have been characterized by close friendship, understanding and cooperation. In recent years, both nations have developed close and extensive cooperation in trade, military and strategic fields. Liberia views India as a valuable partner and desires to learn from India's development experience and its economic achievements. Our engagement has since widened in the political, commercial and economic arenas, complemented by a steady exchange of high-level visits during the last few years. India, with its economic capabilities, technology, potentials and qualified manpower and Liberia with its ambitious advancement projects can always find new factors that enhance their partnership.
Government of India has offered development assistance to Liberia as grant-in-aid for projects in the education and health sectors, at the request of the Liberian side India donated twenty five buses to augment the public transportation facilities of the Monrovia Transit Authority. India also agreed to set up in Liberia an Information Technology and Communications, ICT (Information and Communications Technology). India will also set up in the short term two computer education centers at sites to be identified by the Liberian side, India has also extensively assisted Liberia in capacity building and training, particularly Liberian diplomats and policemen.India may also help train the 2,000 strong Liberian army, which is currently being restructured. Government of India has agreed to consider the specific and special request for capacity building by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Liberia.
OUAGADOUGOU (BURKINA FASO)
The mission's visit to Burkina Faso was important as OIA is currently in the process of commissioning an energy related project in one of the regions of the country. In fact Chairman Ambassador Dr. V. B. Soni had met the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso on a one-to-one basis at the project site at the time of inauguration a few months back. During this visit he not only renewed old links but touched base with other important Ministers in the Government and leading businessmen.
At the Ouagadougou meet organized by Burkina Faso Chambers of Commerce on 12th April, 2013 Chairman OIA said that, "Today is the day of an opportunity to interact and raise issues of mutual importance.Relations between India and Burkina have been built around visits at various levels during the last many decades. The growing bilateral relations are evident from the increase in trade between Burkina Faso and India. This is the time of new opportunities. This potential, or opportunity will not happen on its own – it can be realized only if businesses on both sides take a good look at each other and set their hearts on making tangible progress in fostering new areas of collaboration.
As part of the growing bilateral relation, the Indian government is preparing to set up two projects, a Vocational Training Centre/Incubation Centre (VTC/IC) and Vocational Training Centre at the Barefoot College in Burkina Faso under the India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS).
To summarize the fruitful business meet held at Liberia and Burkina Faso, Chairman OIA, Ambassador Dr. V.B.Soni had this to say: "Our positive mutual understanding is enhanced by the presence of large Indian community in the country. These solid foundations constitute the basis of India's contemporary relationship with your country. Both these visits have lent substance and depth to our bilateral relationship.