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African nations offer India barter deal: Copper, gold for infra projects

Bartering, or the exchange of goods and services for other goods and services, has been used as a trading tool since the earliest times. In 6000 BC Mesopotamian tribes bartered for trade and so did the Phoenicians. Today, that millennia-old practice is about to be revived by some African nations. Hit by the liquidity crisis and foreign exchange woes, they are reaching for the barter system to fund infrastructure projects such as roads, rails and other basic amenities.

At least three countries — Zambia, Ghana and Rwanda — have approached India with a proposal to export minerals in return for project import. Among the commodities that could be part of the barter deal are copper and gold. Two Indian companies, Ircon International and the State Trading Corporation of India (STC), are already in talks with these countries for a commodity-project swap deal.

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