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Wednesday 16 June 2021
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India offers US$ 5 billion to boost trade with Africa

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Tuesday unveiled one of the most comprehensive development plans for Africa, offering US$ 5 billion for lending to the continent and pledging to ease off trade barriers to bolster trade between his country and poorer African states. In a speech before 15 other African leaders, Singh said India would offer US$ 5 billion over the next three years under lines of credit to help achieve Africa’s development goals. An additional US$ 700 million 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 multilateral levels and strengthen partnerships with the AU and Regional Economic Communities. Summarizing initiatives for enhancing partnership between Africa and India, during the second Africa-India Forum Summit being held here, Singh outlined four broad areas of Indian support, which focus on infrastructure development, regional integration, capacity building and human resource development. At the multilateral level, he said India was considering the establishment of an India-Africa virtual university to meet some of the African demand for higher studies. At least 10,000 new scholarships under the proposed university will be available for African students. He 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, 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 disclosed 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 would provide US$ 2 million for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), adding that his country would support the development of the Ethio-Djibouti railway, to the tune of US$ 300 million. In terms of relationships with the Regional Economic Communities, Singh announced that India would work with the RECs to establish soil, water and tissue-testing laboratories, regional farm science centres, seed production-cum-demonstration centres and material testing centres for highways. Cooperation between India and Africa was cemented in 2008 with the signing of the New Delhi 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 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 23 May, 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 Ping and India’s Minister of External Affairs, SM Krishna

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