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India eyes Cooperation with African nations on the International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiative

For the first time, India would be hosting the annual meetings of the bank here from May 22-26. The annual meet will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 23.

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Gandhinagar, May 18, 2017: India is eyeing cooperation with African nations on the International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiative and looking forward to deepen economic cooperation during the upcoming annual meetings of African Development Bank (AfDB) Group here from May 22.

For the first time, India would be hosting the annual meetings of the bank here from May 22-26. The annual meet will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 23.

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“India would seek to leverage this occasion to further deepen her economic cooperation with the African countries. India is also looking forward to cooperation with Africa on the International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiative,” the Finance Ministry said here in a statement on Thursday.

The ISA initiative was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015. The ISA is conceived as a coalition of solar resource-rich countries to address their special energy needs.

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“The annual meetings of the bank this year would be another opportunity to discuss the issues facing the regional member countries, while India would seek to leverage this occasion to further deepen our economic cooperation with the African countries,” the statement said.

The core theme of the event is “Transforming Agriculture for wealth creation in Africa”, which has tremendous scope for cooperation between India and Africa.

The annual meetings are the largest event of the bank, which would witness about 3,000 delegates from 81 member-countries from across the world gathering at the Mahatma Mandir convention centre here in Gujarat.

AfDB has adopted a strategy called ‘High 5s’, which focuses on five major developmental priorities comprising agriculture, energy, industrialisation, regional connectivity and improved quality of life through access to social and economic opportunities.

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During the course of the event, the Board of Governors of the bank will meet to dwell upon the major developmental challenges facing the African countries and the ways to achieve an inclusive and sustainable growth.

India will be organising an Africa India Cooperation Event on the sidelines of the main event.

The sessions would primarily focus on agriculture, healthcare, e-governance, renewable energy, skill development and education, trade and investment and manufacturing.

The government is also planning an exhibition to showcase the capabilities of Indian companies in terms of technology, innovation, and start-ups, which could be relevant to African countries.

The theme of the exhibition is centred on the priority areas of the bank.

During India Africa Forum Summit 2015, the announcement of $10 billion line of credit by Modi marked a new beginning in India’s approach to engage with African countries in a more constructive manner.

India’s support through lines of credit has not only helped finance the projects in African countries, but has also contributed to capacity building, IT education, and higher education.

India joined the African Development Fund (ADF) in 1982 and the African Development Bank (AfDB) in 1983, initiating a long history of cooperation spanning over 30 years.

India’s collaboration with the bank group is built around three main pillars — contributions to the General Capital Increase (GCI), contributions to African Development Fund replenishment and a bilateral trust fund and providing resources to support highly indebted poor countries and the multilateral debt reduction initiative. (IANS)

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‘Everyday Africa’ Project to shatter African Stereotypes

Everyday Africa, an Instagram community of photographers who strive to capture ordinary moments of life, such as children picking flowers in a field, or girlfriends chatting at a coffee shop.

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Breaking stereotypes, one post on Instagram ,at a time. Pixabay
Breaking stereotypes, one post on Instagram ,at a time. Pixabay
  • ‘Everyday Africa’ is an Instagram project which aims at eliminating African stereotypes.
  • They photograph everyday life of common Africans to succeed in their initiative.
  •  With approximately 370,000 followers, it is one of the biggest visual libraries of a continent.

When schoolchildren in Washington, D.C., are asked to say the first thing that comes to mind about Africa, they use words like hot, desert, sand, poverty, hunger, war and Ebola.

These are all accurate things to say about that part of the world — but they reflect an “incomplete” picture, says writer Austin Merrill, who together with photojournalist Peter DiCampo has set out to document African reality beyond common stereotypes.

They are the founders of Everyday Africa, an Instagram community of photographers who strive to capture ordinary moments of life, such as children picking flowers in a field, or girlfriends chatting at a coffee shop. Their Instagram following has topped 370,000.

Africa is no more the poor country we think it is, it is time to break the stereotypes.
Africa is no more the poor country we think it is, it is time to break the stereotypes.

In addition to the Instagram feed, the book “Everyday Africa, 30 Photographers Re-Picturing the Continent,” recently hit bookstores in Europe, the United States and certain countries on the African continent. The book is filled with images documenting life in Africa that aim to shatter misconceptions often found in Western media.

Readers see a teenager rollerblading in the streets of Dakar, a DJ playing music in Lagos, a couple looking at the Atlantic Ocean in Cape Town. The book displays the full diversity and visual richness of African life.

Both DiCampo and Merrill invited a diverse “community of photographers” from all over the continent to contribute to the Instagram project and the book. Some are professionals, while others are skilled amateurs.

Ethiopian-American writer Maaza Mengiste prologues the book in an essay focusing on the power of the ordinary. “We sometimes forget that no matter what is happening in our lives, ordinary moments find a way to move forward,” Mengiste writes.

Normality

Peter DiCampo and Austin Merrill, both Americans, met while serving with the Peace Corps in Ivory Coast. In 2012, they received a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in Washington to cover the aftermath of Ivory Coast’s civil war.

While they were interviewing refugees and soldiers, Merrill remembers that around them “the vast majority of life was pretty normal, but that wasn’t coming through in the story that we were trying to put together.”

“We were seeing all these other moments, that were many sorts of truer to our daily life experience in that part of the world,” says DiCampo.

So, they took their cellphones and started to photograph what was around them. They felt, says Merrill, that the normal, everyday scenes of life “might be the most important thing we had to tell about that place, about that moment, instead of the crisis story.”

Media organizations tend to focus on breaking news, often triggered by an evolving crisis. Africa has many of those; but, as Di Campo puts it, “It’s quite difficult to have a global understanding when all you see of other parts of the world are really extreme stories.”

This is the gap that the “Everyday Africa” book is trying to fill; to look at the continent from the inside and from different perspectives.

DiCampo and Merrill, with the support of the Pulitzer Center, have also created media workshops that train elementary school students in the United States on how to document their lives and recognize stereotypes.

“We use the story of how we created Everyday Africa,” said DiCampo, “to engage the students in a discussion of how media representation affects them, their lives and their communities and we use our photography to teach basic photography lessons, so that by the end of the workshop, they have an everyday project for their own school or community.”

This social media model has hit a nerve. “The Everyday Africa platform on Instagram may very well be the biggest visual library of the continent,” writes Ghanaian photographer Nana Kofi Acquah.

“To task African photographers with the burden of changing how the continent is perceived, might be overwhelming,” writes Acquah; but, he adds, “a picture of the real Africa” is slowly emerging. VOA