India today said it will offer 5 billion dollars over the next three years under lines of credit to help achieve Africa's development goals. An additional 700 million dollars will be made available to establish new institutions and training programmes in consultation with the African Union and its institutions. In doing this, India will engage with Africa at bilateral and multi lateral levels, and strengthen partnerships with the African Union and Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
Summarizing initiatives for enhancing partnership between Africa and India today, at the 2-day 2nd Africa- India Forum Summit being held at the African Union, the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh outlined four broad areas of Indian support: infrastructure development, regional integration, capacity building and human resource development.
At the multilateral level, he said India is looking at establishing an India Africa virtual university to meet some of the African demand for higher studies. 10 000 new scholarships under the proposed university will be available for African students. The Prime Mister announced an increase in the number of graduate and post graduate scholarships to be offered to African students.
In order to further develop human resources, Mr. Singh proposed the establishment of the following new institutions:
An Africa- India food processing cluster to contribute to value addition and creation of regional and export markets;
An India – Africa integrated textile cluster to support the cotton industry;
An India – Africa center for medium range weather forecasting to harness satellite technology for agriculture and fisheries sectors; and An India Africa institute of agriculture and rural development
The Prime Minister added that his country would be willing to support the establishment of an India- Africa University for Life and Earth Sciences and to increase the access of African airlines to Indian cities. He also proposed the joint establishment of an India Africa Business Council which will bring together Chief Executive Officers of major corporations from both sides.
To support peace and security efforts, the Prime Minister said India will provide 2 million US dollars for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). He also said India would support the development of the Ethio-Djibouti railway to the tune of 300 million dollars.
In terms of relationships with the Regional Economic Communities, Mr. Singh announced that India would work with the RECs to establish soil, water and tissue testing laboratories, regional farm science centers, seed production- cum- demonstration centers, and material testing centers for highways.
Cooperation between India and Africa was cemented in 2008 with the signing of the New Dehli Declaration and the Africa India Framework for Cooperation. Since then, there have been substantial financial flows from India to Africa in terms of grants, foreign direct investment (FDI), and concessional loans.
African priorities in the partnership were highlighted by African Union Commission Chairperson Mr. Jean Ping as follows: infrastructure, agriculture, human development, technology, knowledge building and sharing, development of the modern sector and market access.
Mr. Ping said the relationship between India and Africa, initiated with the first Africa India summit in 2008 has allowed the two partners to stand up to common challenges through the adoption of common positions. He highlighted the successful e-network project which is promoting e education and e medicine between Africa and India. He also said 19 Least Developed Countries in Africa are already benefitting from the Duty Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme, which India announced during the last Summit.
The AUC Chairperson announced that the relationship took a further positive turn on May 23 with the signing of agreements to establish vocational training and incubation centres across the African continent, as well as the creation of the following new institutions: India-Africa Institute of Information Technology (Ghana); India-Africa Institute of Educational Planning (Burundi); India-Africa Institute of Foreign Trade (Uganda); and the India-Africa Diamond Institute (Botswana). The agreements were signed at the AU Commission by Dr. Ping and India's Minister of External Affairs, SM Krishna.
In addition, Mr Ping recalled that low cost housing projects will be implemented in Africa in the near future. Mr. Ping stressed the importance of agriculture to economic development and poverty eradication, adding that there is need to increase trade and to fight against terrorism.
The summit is taking place against the backdrop of a world recovering from a major economic crisis, while at the same time trying to meet the challenges of providing food, energy and security. Global institutions of governance are also increasingly under stress and there are calls for reform, particularly from the developing countries. In this respect, this summit is expected to contribute to the realization of a self reliant and economically vibrant Africa and India.
The 2nd Africa India summit forum will adopt the Africa India framework for enhanced cooperation to supplement the existing framework. It is also expected to adopt an Addis Ababa Declaration.
Issues expected to feature prominently in the Addis Ababa Declaration include: a comprehensive reform of the UN system including the expansion of the UN Security Council, non discriminatory and verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons, countering of terrorism, piracy, drug trafficking and trafficking in humans, climate change, enhancement of south- south cooperation, sustainable economic growth, and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals,
The summit was officially opened by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, who is the Chairperson of the African Union. The President said Africa values India's policy of cooperation and said both sides must profit from the relationship. He encouraged more diversification of the cooperation to cover more areas of development. He placed particular emphasis on the need for peace and security, a just economic and political world order, and a world free of nuclear weapons, terrorism and piracy.
Following the Banjul format, participants from the African side at this Summit include: the Chairperson of the AU (Equatorial Guinea); the Chairperson of the AU in the preceding year (Malawi); the Chairperson of the AU Commission; the five initiating countries of NEPAD, i.e. Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa; the Chair of the Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee HSGOC (Ethiopia); and the Chairs of the 8 Regional Economic Communities (RECs).