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India-Africa summit: Africa’s growth to be fructified

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New Delhi: India’s pledge at the recently held India Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) in New Delhi is set to influx Africa’s projected growth. The summit aims at promoting the Public Private partnership Programmes (PPP) across the continent work. Experts say that this might result in a slew of initiatives like power projects to generate 2,600 GW over the next decades, and also a progressive movement in the area of agriculture, healthcare and telecommunications.

Indications that the private sector in India is aware of the opportunities that Africa has to offer can be summed up from what Vijay Kumar Chohan, executive director for international operations at Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, had to say: “There are immense opportunities to the tune of 2,600 GW over the next 10 years which would result in a number of transmission line projects.”

There are also indications that some African countries would like to get into generating electricity from coal. Given this, it is encouraging that India’s coal secretary, Anil Swarup, said that the country has targeted the doubling of production to one billion tonnes per year by 2020 and thereby increasing generation by 50 percent that year.

African countries, experts say, can take forward Swarup’s thoughts that India would be keen to partner with the continent to explore business opportunities in the coal sector by way of exploration, mining, development of projects and mines by Indian companies.

Agriculture offers another great opportunity. With a large pool of unemployed youth, Africa can take advantage of its improving investment climate to attract Indian money to grow its agriculture. International accounting firm KPMG said that “the potential growth in the agricultural sector on the continent is huge. Agricultural growth in Africa has failed to reach its potential.”

The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) says: “The value of Africa’s agricultural output is about $280 billion and has the potential to reach $800 billion by 2030,” adding: “It could address a major problem in Africa by providing economic opportunities for the 200 million people between 14 and 24 years old that make Africa home of the youngest population in the world.” Thus, there are many who feel that changes in governance and an improved investment atmosphere can help attract private Indian capital.

And, amid indications that the continent’s largest economy, Nigeria, is turning towards China to help develop the country’s agriculture, Indian companies also have the opportunity to engage in large-scale agricultural projects.

In the health sector, Nigeria alone is said to have lost close to $2 billion annually to India as a result of an inadequate health delivery sector.

KPMG Africa chairman Oluseyi Bickersteth told IANS: “In 2012, about 40 percent of all visas to India from Nigeria were for medical tourism and Nigerians spent about $260 million on medical expenses in India.”

Bickersteth said: Indian involvement in Nigeria’s healthcare delivery is gradually increasing after a lull in the 1970s when most of the Indian medical officers operating in the country left. However, the new interest in Nigeria has been bolstered by the Indian government’s announcement last January to set up two specialist units for eye and cancer care.

The telecom sector is another area that is looking for investors across the continent. Therefore, experts say, with the Indian government keen to improve the poor balance of trade with African countries, an improved political atmosphere backed by right policy frameworks would be the magnet to attract Indian companies.

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Modi holds bilateral meetings with 41 visiting African leaders

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for India and Egypt to work together on reforms to UN Security Council. Also, cooperation in counter-terrorism, agriculture, oil and energy figured in many of his bilateral meetings with 41 visiting African leaders who had come to take part in the India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS).

Briefing about Modi’s meetings on Thursday with 10 African leaders, including Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that the Egyptian president had agreed as a goodwill gesture to release two Indian prisoners who had been in jail in Egypt for 16 and 22 years, and they will be extradited to India.

Modi had bilaterals with all visiting heads of state and government. He met with 19 African leaders on Wednesday and had 12 bilaterals on Friday. IAFS, which saw participation from all African countries, including 41 heads of state and government, concluded on Thursday.

In his meeting with Egyptian president on Thursday, Modi thanked him for attending the summit, saying it would have been incomplete without his country.

Modi met Moroccan King Mohammed VI on Thursday and agreed to his suggestion of forming a high-level joint commission. The king invited Modi to visit his country.

There was discussion on UNSC reforms in Modi’s meeting with Namibian President Hage G. Geingob, who held that “powerful countries like India should be in the Security Council”.

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita invited Modi to visit his country and offered to take him to Timbuktu, which he said was a heritage site which terrorists had threatened to blow up.

Modi invited Mauritanian President Ould Adbel Aziz to join the solar alliance that he proposes to launch during the meeting on climate change in Paris later this year. Aziz said his country was rich in copper, oil, iron, and gold and said they will open an embassy in Delhi to boost relations between two countries.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn said India can take advantage of arable land in his country for growing pulses and oil-seeds.

Modi and Angolan Vice President Manuel Domingos Vicente discussed cooperation in the oil sector. Referring to presence of diamonds in Angola, Modi said that India largely sourced diamonds for its industry from third parties and it will be a win-win situation for both countries if it gets access to them directly.

Tanzanian Vice President Mohamed Gharib Bilal sought India’s assistance for construction of a rail line.

Somalian President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud sought India’s assistance in the energy sector.

Modi invited Comoros’ President Ikililou Dhoinine to join the proposed solar alliance.

In his meeting with Sisi, Modi and he also discussed the situation in the Middle East and the need for more active cooperation in “counter-terrorism”. It was Modi’s second meeting with the Egyptian president in two months. Sisi said that though the summit was coinciding with parliamentary polls in Egypt, he made it a point to attend the “very important occasion”.

On Friday, Modi had bilaterals with Sudanese President Omer el Bashir, Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf, Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma, Madagascar President Hery Rajaonarimampianina, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Senegalese President Macky Sall, Guinea Bissau President Jose Mario Vaz, Mauritius Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth, Rwandan Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi, Zambian Vice President Inonge Winaat, Gambian Vice President Aja Isatou Njie Saidy, and Burundian Vice President Gaston Sindimwo.

(IANS)

(Photo: www.theweek.in)

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Modi emphasises on security and defence in IAFS

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Picture Courtesy: www.thewire.in

New Delhi: Mentioning that India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) would be held every five years in future, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that closer security and defence cooperation would be the keystone of bilateral ties with African nations.

In his closing remarks at the third IAFS here, Modi said India would improve its scholarship programme and provide a supportive atmosphere to African students studying in India.

He said partnership between India and African nations was natural and their destinies interlinked.

Modi earlier released commemorative coins and postage stamps at the IAFS.

(IANS)

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India and Africa should pitch for UNSC reforms, says Modi

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New Delhi: India and Africa must speak in one voice for reforms in international institutions like the UN Security Council, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday.

Addressing the India-Africa Forum Summit here, Modi said the international institutions cannot be representative of the world if they do not give place to India and Africa.

“The world is undergoing political, economic, technological and security transition on a scale and speed rarely seen in recent history. Yet our global institutions reflect the circumstances of the century that we left behind, not the one we are in today,” the prime minister said.

“This is a world of free nations and awakened aspirations. Our institutions cannot be representative of our world, if they do not give voice to Africa, with more than a quarter of UN members, or the world’s largest democracy with one-sixth of humanity,” he said.

“That is why India and Africa must speak in one voice for reforms of the United Nations, including its Security Council,” the prime minister added.

(IANS)