New Delhi, October 29, 2015
India on Thursday offered Africa concessional credit of $ 10 billion over the next five years, in addition to their ongoing credit programme, to add strength to their partnership.
India pledges $ 10 billion credit to Africa
India today offered Africa concessional credit of $ 10 billion over the next five years, in addition to their ongoing credit programme, to add strength to their partnership.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) here, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced a grant assistance of $ 600 milion and an India-Africa Health Fund of $ 10 million.
"It will also include 50,000 scholarships in India over the next five years. And, it will support the expansion of the Pan Africa E-Network and institutions of skilling, training and learning across Africa," he said.
"If this century is going to be one in which all humans have a life of opportunity, equality and dignity; stand in peace with each other; and live in balance with nature, then India and Africa must rise together," he said.
The summit is being attended by the heads of state or government or senior representatives from all 54 African countries.
"Today, it is not just a meeting of India and Africa. Today, the dreams of one-third of humanity have come together under one roof. Today, the heart beat of 1.25 billion Indians and 1.25 billion Africans are in rhythm," Mr Modi said.
"We are among the world’s oldest civilisations. We are each a vibrant mosaic of languages, religions and cultures. Our histories have intersected since ages. Once united by geography, we are now linked by the Indian Ocean. The currents of the mighty ocean have nurtured the ties of kinship, commerce, and culture through centuries," he said.
Mr. Modi spoke of the inter-linkages between the two peoples and their fight against colonialism and for liberty and dignity, opportunity and justice.
"We have spoken in one voice in the world; and, we have formed a partnership for prosperity among ourselves. We have stood together under blue helmets to keep peace. And, we have fought together against hunger and disease. And, as we look to the future, there is something precious that unites us: it is our youth.
"Two-thirds of India and two-thirds of Africa is under the age of 35 years. And, if the future belongs to the youth, then this century is ours to shape and build. Africa is already on that path," he said.
Mr. Modi took note of the strides being taken by Africa towards development and modernisation and economic diversification and integration.
"Africa, like the rest of the developing world, has its development challenges. And, like others in the world, it has its own concerns of security and stability, especially from terrorism and extremism. But, I have confidence in African leadership and the African people to rise to those challenges," he said.
"For the past six decades, so much of our independent journeys have been together. Now, so much of India’s development priorities and Africa’s lofty vision for its future are aligned. Today, Africa and India are two bright spots of hope and opportunities in the global economy," he said.
Mr. Modi said India was honoured to be a development partner for Africa. "It is a partnership beyond strategic concerns and economic benefits. It is formed from the emotional bonds we share and the solidarity we feel for each other," he said.
He said that, in less than a decade, their trade had more than doubled to over $ 70 billion.
"India is now a major source of business investments in Africa. Today, 34 African countries enjoy duty free access to the Indian market. African energy helps run the engine of the Indian economy; its resources are powering our industries; and, African prosperity offers growing market for Indian products," he said.
The Prime Minister recalled that India had committed $ 7.4 billion in concessional credit and $ 1.2 billion in grant since the first India-Africa Summit in 2008.
"It is creating 100 capacity building institutions, and developing infrastructure, public transport, clean energy, irrigation, agriculture and manufacturing capacity across Africa. In the last three years alone, nearly 25,000 young Africans have been trained and educated in India. They are the 25,000 new links between us," he said.
"There are times when we have not done as well as you have wanted us to. There have been occasions when we have not been as attentive as we should be. There are commitments we have not fulfilled as quickly as we should have. But, you have always embraced India with warmth, and without judgement. You have rejoiced in our success, and taken pride in our achievements. And, you have stood for us in the world. This is the strength of our partnership and our friendship," he said.
"And, as we travel on the road ahead, we will do so with the wisdom of our experience and the benefit of your guidance," he said.
Mr. Modi said India would raise the level of its support for their vision of a prosperous,integrated, and united Africa that is a major partner for the world.
"We will help connect Africa from Cairo to Cape Town, from Marakesh to Mombassa; help develop your infrastructure, power and irrigation; help add value to your resources in Africa; and, set up industrial and information technology parks," he said.
He said development of human capital in every walk of life would be at the heart of their partnership. "We will open our doors more; we will expand tele-education; and we will continue to build institutions in Africa," he said.
He said technology would be a strong foundation of their partnership and help develop Africa's agriculture sector, among other things. Healthcare and affordable medicines, space, digital technology, disaster response and resource management were other possible areas of cooperation, he said.
He said the Pan Africa E-Network, which links 48 African countries to India and to each other, would be expanded and extended. This would also help set up the Pan Africa Virtual University, he said.
Mr. Modi also spoke of cooperation for the sustainable development of the blue economy and development of renewable sources of energy.
"We will also deepen India-Africa partnership on clean energy, sustainable habitats, public transport and climate resilient agriculture.
"But, it is also true that the excess of few cannot become the burden of many. So, when the world meets in Paris in December, we look to see a comprehensive and concrete outcome that is based on the well established principles in the UN Convention on Climate Change. We will all do our part for it. But, we also want to see a genuine global public partnership that makes clean energy affordable; provides finance and technology to developing countries to access it; and the means to adapt to the impact of climate change.
"I also invite you to join an alliance of solar-rich countries that I have proposed to launch in Paris on November 30 at the time of COP-21 meeting. Our goal is to make solar energy an integral part of our life and reach it to the most unconnected villages and communities," he said.
Mr. Modi said India and Africa also sought a global trading regime that served their development goals and improves their trade prospects. "When we meet at Nairobi Ministerial of the WTO in December, we must ensure that the Doha Development Agenda of 2001 is not closed without achieving these fundamental objectives.
We should also achieve a permanent solution on public stockholding for food security and special safeguard mechanism in agriculture for the developing countries," he said.
"This is a milestone year when we are setting the agenda for our future and celebrating the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. 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.
"These institutions have served us well, but unless they adjust to the changing world, they risk becoming irrelevant. We cannot say what will replace them in an uncertain future.
"But, we might have a more fragmented world that is less capable of dealing with the challenges of our era. That is why India advocates reforms in global institutions. 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. That is why India and Africa must speak in one voice for reforms of the United Nations, including its Security Council," he stressed.
Mr. Modi also spoke about terrorism, violence and instability.
"Today, in many parts of the world, the light of a bright future flickers in the storm of violence and instability. When terror snuffs out life on the streets and beaches, and in malls and schools of Africa, we feel your pain as our own. And, we see the links that unite us against this threat. We also see that when our oceans are no longer safe for trade, we all suffer together.
"And, when nations are caught in conflict within, no one around remains untouched. And, we know that our cyber networks bring opportunities, but also carry huge risks. So, when it comes to security, distance no longer insulates us from each other.
"That is why we wish to deepen our cooperation in maritime security and hydrography, and countering terrorism and extremism; and, why we must have a UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism," he said.
"From connecting lives to collaborating for our prosperity, from keeping our people safe to advancing our global interests, the agenda of our partnership stretches across the vast territory of our linked aspirations," he added.