India is planning to extend a line of credit to The Gambia to expand and upgrade its Banjul port.
The West African nation has already received a $45 million line of credit (LoC). Pending due-diligence, an in-principle approval for credit to The Gambia has been granted.
Banjul is also the capital of The Gambia and the eponymous port located in the capital is planning to expand and upgrade its infrastructure. The assistance to The Gambia for port development comes even as the Indian government recently sanctioned about $85 million for their first overseas port project - the Chabahar port in Iran.
The Development Partnership Administration (DPA) wing under the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has considered the proposal and forwarded it to the shipping ministry for their comments on the proposal.
Established in 1972, the Banjul port is the main seaport in The Gambia and accounts for almost 90 per cent of the country's trade in terms of volume and weight. More importantly, the port also serves as the lynchpin in trade and distribution of cargo to its landlocked neighboring countries like Senegal and Mali.
On March 28, 2013, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh's address at the state opening of the National Assembly talked about India and the Banjul port. India had approved of the second line of credit worth $16.88 million for the construction of the National Assembly Building Complex back then. President Jammeh, during that speech, had laid out the intention for upgrading and expanding the Banjul port. The expansion project entails increasing its capacity in terms of berth space for ships, adding container terminal, acquisition of cargo handling equipment and computerisation.
An official from the MEA, on conditions of anonymity, said that pending comments from the appraisal report, funds will be disbursed by the EXIM Bank. "After the decision to extend credit is officially sanctioned, MEA and the Finance Ministry will take a final call and EXIM Bank will disburse the allocated funds," said the MEA official.
The DPA, which handles the Line of Credit extended by the Indian government to other countries, manages project appraisals in the East, South and West African regions. Before the $45 million sanction, credit to the tune of $33.58 million has been extended by Export Import (EXIM) Bank of India for projects in the West African nation of The Gambia.