Durban, March 27 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday said India remained committed to supporting Africa’s rise and would continue to assist and work with the vast continent, as its 54 countries develop their institutions and build infrastructure.
“India’s relations with Africa are rooted in history of our solidarity against colonialism and apartheid,” the prime minister said at the Africa Dialogue Forum, which was an important side event at the BRICS Summit here.
In fact, the theme of the fifth summit was: ‘BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation’.
“Our engagement with Africa has come a long way since then and today we have built a new template for partnership in the form of the India-Africa Forum Summit. This partnership is guided by the vision and priorities of our African partners,” the prime minister said.
“India will assist Africa in charting its own course through institution-building, infrastructure development and technical and vocational skill development,” he added, and recalled some of the initiatives taken by India:
– The pan-Africa e-network for tele-medicine and tele-education in 47 countries in Africa
– Providing education to over 15,000 African students in India each year
– Institution of agricultural and scientific fellowships specially designed for African scholars
– Assistance with vocational and entrepreneurial skill development, especially for smaller firms
– Concessional assistance for the development of agriculture, infrastructure and industry
The prime minister also said India would review the terms and conditions of credit extended to African countries so that they meet their requirements in line with their own development priorities.
He said India’s enterprising private sector was one of the key drivers of the India-Africa partnership, adding the India-Africa conclave in New Delhi last week generated interest in 500 projects in Africa worth $70 billion.
“Let me conclude by reiterating India’s resolve to assist Africa with the entire spectrum of our expertise and capacity. The BRICS forum offers another avenue for our cooperation,” the prime minister said.
“Initiatives such as the BRICS bank could further leverage the collective capacity of the BRICS countries to assist the transformation of Africa. This is an objective that India remains committed to.”
(Arvind Padmanabhan can be reached at [email protected])