The bank's credit disbursal strategy to Africa was long centered on infrastructure and industrial projects, which placed India in direct competition with China. But as Exim looks to ramp up its investments over the next three years, it's more likely to focus more on service exports instead, Singhal noted.
Service exports include healthcare, education, and information technology services, areas that are India's traditional strengths in Africa, that may give the former a unique advantage over Beijing. In May, Exim extended $10 billion in lines of credit for healthcare projects across the continent. About 40 percent of Exim's total loan exposure is to Africa, local media reports said in 2015.
"Exim is also looking to sharpen its focus on another area of Indian strengths in Africa: project exports," Singhal added, referring to the term used for overseas construction and engineering projects. "It has requested the Reserve Bank of India to ease regulatory and compliance guidelines regarding minimum equity capital, leverage and the maximum that the bank can lend to a single borrower."
Geopolitics aside, alternative energies will also feature prominently on Modi's agenda, as India aims to triple its use of renewable energy by 2030.
The four countries on his tour are part of the International Solar Energy Alliance, an initiative that New Delhi launched at the CoP21 Climate Conference in Paris last year, Gupta noted. Across his tour and especially in Tanzania, Modi is scheduled to meet with "solar mamas," local women trained by Indian non-government organization Barefoot College to become solar power engineers.
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