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Remarks by Shri V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs at the 16th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership

July 15, 2021

His Excellency Eisenhower Nduwa Mkaka, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Malawi,
His Excellency Kwaku Ampratwun- Sarpong, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs & Regional Integration, Republic of Ghana,
Mr. Noel Tata, Chairman, CII Africa Committee & Managing Director, Tata International Ltd.,
Mr. N. Ramesh, Deputy Managing Director. EXIM Bank
Mr. S. Kuppuswamy, Co-Chair, CII Africa Committee & Advsior-Group, Finance & Special Projects, Shapoorji Pallonji Group
Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Namaskaram and a very good evening to you all!


It is a matter of great pleasure for me to address the Valedictory Session of 16th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India and Africa Project Partnership. I congratulate CII and EXIM Bank of India for successfully organising this very important summit, in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs.

2. I am glad that over the last three days, we have been able to come together and hold meaningful deliberations on wide-ranging issues that are important to both India and Africa. These discussions have allowed us to not only strengthen our existing collaboration, but also build pathways for forging partnerships in new and emerging domains.

3. I congratulate all the participants for their active contributions to the dialogue and for making the conclave hugely successful.

Friends,

4. I would like to reiterate the sentiment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji that Africa remains at the top of India’s priorities. This sentiment has been underlined in the way our partnership with the Africa has evolved over the years. India is deeply invested in the development of Africa and its assistance is guided by the policy priorities of the governments and the needs of the people of Africa, within a framework of inclusive and transparent development.

5. India and Africa are connected by ancient maritime links, and our common struggle against colonialism. India’s partnership with Africa is underpinned by geographical and cultural affinities, and is comprehensive and multidimensional. The nature of India-Africa bilateral engagement is diverse, encompassing areas pertaining to education, healthcare, science, technology, infrastructure and capacity building.

6. India’s relationship with Africa has assumed greater salience during the Covid pandemic, as we stood together to support each other. Very early on in the pandemic, India dispatched packages of essential medicines to more than 25 countries in Africa to complement the national efforts of the various countries in Africa to combat the pandemic.

7. As a part of Mission SAGAR (I and II), India provided assistance to several African Countries including Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti, Eritrea, Madagascar and Comoros to overcome natural calamities and the COVID-19 pandemic.

8. India has worked closely with the African governments on repatriation of each other's nationals through special flights.

9. India has supplied medicines and health-related supplies and equipment, including vaccines, to over 40 African countries, despite domestic challenges and needs.

10. We will be happy to work closely with the African countries on the use of Co-Win online platform / App used for registering vaccination. It may be noted that over 382 million vaccinations undertaken in India have been captured in this App.

Friends,

11. Symbolic of the deepening India-Africa relations, is the fact that India is now the continent’s third largest trading partner and the fifth largest investor in Africa, with cumulative investments of more than US$ 54 billion. As recently as January 2021, the India-Africa Trade Council has been established in India for building up business relations between both the countries of India and African Region.

12. The Duty Free Tariff Preference Scheme announced by India for LDCs benefited 38 African nations and has contributed towards steady increase in our trade figures. As of today, the African continent is home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies. Their growth and development ambitions offer some promising opportunities for investment in high-growth sectors such as infrastructure development, manufacturing, services industry, agri-tech, healthcare, sustainable energy, new and emerging technologies, among several others.

13. In the 10 guiding principles articulated by Prime Minister Modi ji for India’s engagement with Africa, India has committed to sharing its experience with the digital revolution to support Africa’s development; improve delivery of public services; extend education and health; spread digital literacy; expand financial inclusion; and mainstream the marginalised.

14. We endeavor to work with Africa to address the challenge of the knowledge, technology and digital divides, so as to make the 4th industrial revolution more inclusive in nature.

Friends,

15. I am glad to note that the African continent is the 2nd largest recipient of India’s overseas assistance. 183 Lines of Credit on highly favourable terms have been extended to 41 countries for a total amount of over US$ 11 billion. These LOCs cover multiple sectors like power plants, power transmission & distribution networks, railways, roads, ports, agriculture and irrigation, industrial units, food processing units, skill development etc.

16. During the India Africa Forum Summit-3 (IAFS-3), India pledged USD 10 billion under LOCs, USD 600 million as grant and 50,000 capacity building slots, for the period 2015-2020.

17. In addition, several training programs under ITEC, ICCR and IAFS programmes, are being undertaken for capacity building of African nationals. It may be mentioned that African countries have been the largest recipients under the ITEC Programme.

18. An important element of our engagement is our connection with the Indian diaspora in Africa, who have played a key role in socio-economic development of their respective countries.

19. India is also working for Capacity building in Human resources with the African nations including in Tele medicine and Tele-education: e-VidyaBharati & e-ArogyaBharati.

20. It is important to nore that much of India’s assistance now goes towards empowering the people of Africa. The nature of India’s development partnership with Africa has evolved to become more versatile, technology intensive and a vehicle for sharing cutting edge technology, especially digital technology.

Friends,

21. India-Africa science and technology cooperation offers a unique opportunity for agricultural growth in Africa. The case for greater agricultural cooperation between India and Africa is stronger because of the similar agro-climatic conditions in India and Africa. African agriculture characterised by low productivity and limited use of technology. On the other hand, India has built considerable capacity in agricultural research. This combination provides opportunities for more win-win collaborations.

22. In Africa’s pursuance of "Africa-owned” and "Africa-led” development, it is India’s endeavour to base our partnership on the principles of equality, mutual respect, solidarity and mutual benefit. Our model of cooperation with Africa is demand driven, consultative, and participative, involves local resources, builds capacity and is based on Africa’s own prioritisation of its needs.

23. I once again congratulate CII and EXIM Bank for the successful organisation of the Conclave.

Thank you.

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