India- Guinea Bissau bilateral relations
India and Guinea Bissau, for decades, have maintained warm and cordial relations. Guinea Bissau Government is generally supportive of India. Though co-operation has continued at international fora such as the United Nations and NAM, the content in our bilateral relations, in terms of high level visits, bilateral agreements, project assistance, institutional mechanisms in the form of foreign office consultations, joint commission etc., are yet to be developed for a meaningful cooperation. However, there is a considerable goodwill for India both amongst the public and in the government. There are no perceivable irritants / differences in the relationship.
Guinea Bissau is a founder member of the Team-9 Initiative. Under this framework, GOI has extended LOC of US$ 25 million to Guinea Bissau. However, due to continued political uncertainties, Guinea Bissau has not been able to utilize these funds so far.
An Honorary Consulate of India was inaugurated in Guinea Bissau on 28th May 2010. At the reception hosted to celebrate the occasion, the Interim Prime Minister and several Cabinet Ministers participated.
Mr. Botche Cande, Minister of Commerce and Industry of Guinea Bissau visited India in December 2009. Mr. Cande met our Hon’ble Minister of Commerce and Industry Shri Anand Sharma on 11th December. He also held meetings with senior officers of State Trading Corporation (STC), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Cashew Export Promotion Council (CEPC). Cashew is the main commodity of export from Guinea Bissau) and streamlining of the cashew export from Guinea Bissau to India was one of the aims of this visit. Other important issues in the bilateral relations, which may come up in near future are untapped mining investment opportunities in Guinea Bissau, specially in the phosphate sector, cooperation for promotion of SME sector in Guinea Bissau and export of rice from India. The visit was seen as a good foundation for the development of bilateral relations, to expand as well as intensify the bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
Minister Cande again visited India in March 2010 to participate in the CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership held in New Delhi. The issue of export of rice from India to Guinea Bissau was the most important item on the agenda of Minister Cande. The Guinea Bissau Government has been repeatedly requesting us for urgent permission to import rice.
Foreign Minister Mr. Adelino Mano Queta participated in the Ministerial Meeting on ‘Harnessing the positive contribution of South-South Cooperation for Least Developed Countries (LDCs)’ held in New Delhi from 18-19 February 2011.
Institutional Mechanisms – Bilateral Agreements
India had offered the Duty Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme to Guinea Bissau in May 2008. Once it is accepted by Guinea Bissau, and the Letter of Intent is signed by them, the Scheme is expected to become operational soon.
The Guinea Bissau Government signed the ‘country agreement’ with the Telecommunications Consultations India Limited for implementation of the Pan African e-Network project and the project is now under implementation in the country. The negotiations on starting the telemedicine and tele-education classes have begun.
India is the sole importer of almost the entire crop (98%) of cashew nuts from Guinea Bissau every year. Guinea Bissau produces about 100-120,000 tons of raw cashews every year and almost the entire quantity is exported to India for processing. The recent coup has caused a dip in imports from Guinea Bissau as the Indian importers looked to other sources in the region for import of raw cashew.
In April 2009, the Government of India approved the export of 24,200 metric tonnes of 25% broken non-Basmati rice to Guinea Bissau. From the Indian side, three public sector units (PSUs) viz. State Trading Corporation (STC) Ltd., Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation (MMTC) Ltd. and Project & Equipment Corporation (PEC) Ltd. were designated the nodal agencies for export of rice. The rice-importing agency in Guinea Bissau, i.e. M/s Grembissa S.A. was informed that they can directly import rice from one of these three corporations without the intervention of an agency in India. However, the process was held up due to lack of permission from GOI to STC to procure and export rice to Guinea Bissau.
Recently, in August 2011, the Department of Food & Public Distribution of the Government of India proposed to export ten lakh (one million) tonnes each of non-Basmati rice and wheat on diplomatic considerations to various friendly countries during the year 2011-12 from the Central Pool. The Government of Guinea Bissau, in September 2011, requested for permission of export of 25000 MT (twenty five thousand metric tonnes) from India to Guinea Bissau at a subsidized price. The Guinea Bissau Government intended to import rice to provide this staple food to their population at a reasonable price with a view to ensure peace and stability in the country through guaranteeing food security. However, given the current political situation, export of rice from India to Guinea Bissau does not appear to be feasible in near future.
Indian companies/ joint ventures
There are no Indian companies operating in Guinea Bissau.
Guinea Bissau Government is yet to sign the Letter of Intent required under the DFTP and provide requisite information regarding the agencies and officers responsible for issuing the Certificate of Origin to the goods exported from Guinea Bissau.
Under this framework, GOI has extended LOC of US$ 25 million to Guinea Bissau. However, due to continued political uncertainties, Guinea Bissau was not been able to utilize these funds so far. The matter was further complicated due to different Guinea Bissau governments nominating Indian companies of their choice, annulling the contracts signed with previous governments, for the projects annihilating the requirement of transparent and fair bidding process.
India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Trust Fund Board, in February 2009, approved a revised commitment of US$ 830,000 for two projects (combined) namely for renewable energy and agricultural capacity building in Guinea Bissau.
India has offered the establishment of a cluster of Solar Charging Stations in Guinea Bissau in pursuance of the announcements made at the Second India Africa Forum Summit held in Addais Ababa in May 2011.
Cashew crop accounts for more than 90% of its export earnings. It is important to note that almost the entire cashew crop (around 98%) is exported to India for processing.
ITEC and other training and assistance programmes
For the financial year 2012-13, 30 slots for training in India under India Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) have been allotted to Guinea Bissau in accordance with the decisions taken following the second session of the India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-2) held in Addis Ababa in May 2011. Under the programme, five women from rural areas of Guinea Bissau were sent to India in 2009 for training at Barefoot College, Tilonia, Rajasthan, after completion of which they would install and maintain solar energy facilities in their villages. An expert in the area of rice cultivation visited Guinea Bissau from India in early 2006 to assist the country under India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Dialogue Forum’s “Poverty Alleviation Funding Facility”. An expert Team from India had also visited Guinea- Bissau to assist in a Solar Power project. Guinea Bissau is a founder member of the Team-9 Initiative. Under this framework, GOI has earmarked an LOC of US$ 25 million for Guinea Bissau. In February 2009, India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Trust Fund Board, approved around US$ 830,000 for two projects (combined) namely for renewable energy and agricultural capacity building in Guinea Bissau. Guinea Bissau does not have a diplomatic mission in India.
Embassy in India: Guinea Bissau does not have a diplomatic mission in India. However, the coordinates of the Honorary Consulate of Guinea Bissau are as follows:
Honorary Consul : Mr. Kamal Kumar
There are about 60 Indians in Guinea Bissau. However, every year during cashew crop season, 40-50 Indians visit Guinea Bissau for few weeks to negotiate, purchase and ship the consignments of raw cashew to India
Coordinates of the Honorary Consulate of India in Bissau are as follows:
Mr. Mohan Dodani, Honorary Consul of India
Phone: +245-6934190, +245-6605160, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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