International investors from India visit Natchez on economic development trip

Published 6:14 pm Thursday, April 15, 2021

NATCHEZ — A group of international investors from India visited Natchez Thursday to tour the area for a multi-faceted economic development prospect.

Specifics on the project were not provided due to non-disclosure agreements between the parties involved. However, Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said the project being considered for the Adams County area involves exports of products to India.

“Do you realize America is missing out on an opportunity to export products and goods to India?” he said. “We, for a long time, have been a country importing way more than we should and exporting way less than we could. This is about an opportunity for our region to maximize our location on the river, our railway and be able to export to India.”

Atlanta Consulate General of India Dr. Swati Vijay Kulkarni, Indian American International Chamber of Commerce President KV Kumar, and a company of other investors arrived in Natchez Thursday to stay at the Stanton Guest House and receive a tour of the city with Gibson, Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ and other officials.

Russ said the investors’ Natchez experience includes visits to the Natchez-Adams County Industrial Port and other industrial properties, Merit Health Natchez and side tours of Stanton Hall the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture and concludes with dinner at The Towers.

“We have a heavy agenda for today and they will be leaving here tomorrow morning to meet with Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith,” Russ said. “This is the opening of a door to have them explore opportunities here and hopefully establish a good partnership. … As investment opportunities become available, hopefully they will consider our region.”

Kumar described the undisclosed economic development prospect as “a big project” that involves solar energy among multiple other things.

“We’ve visited six states, including South Carolina, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. Mississippi is our number one choice,” Kumar said.

Gibson first met with the consulate and other international investors during an economic development trip to Georgia in February and announced they were planning a visit to Natchez during a meeting of the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen meeting last month.

“I just want to appreciate Mr. Mayor (Gibson) here,” Kulkarni said. “He is giving us this grand, grand welcome. We are really and truly humbled. We appreciate the work you are doing to bring our two worlds a little closer to make them more prosperous and make them more inclusive and sustainable than ever. We are with you and we are your collaborative partner in this endeavor.”