Prime minister holds pre-summit meetings with African leaders

A day ahead of the India-Africa Forum Summit kicks off in the national capital, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is holding bilateral meetings with heads of state of 20 African countries today.

The India-Africa Forum Summit, one of New Delhi's most ambitious diplomatic outreach events in over two decades, slated for 29-30 October, will see gathering of representatives and heads if state of 54 African nations.

Prime minister's meetings with African heads of states started at 9:00 am, with each meeting slotted for about half an hour, Modi is expected to devote 10 hours to the meetings.

Modi's first pre-summit bilateral meeting will be with Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, who is visiting India after a gap of more than two decades, according to the ministry of external affairs website.

Modi will also be meeting other African leaders, including the presidents of Ghana John Dramani Mahama, Benin's Boni Yayi, Nigeria's Muhammadu Buhari, Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta, Uganda's Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Djibouti's Ismail Omar Guelleh, Niger's Issoufou Mahamadou, Chad's Idriss Deby Itno, South Africa's Jacob Zuma, Gabon's Ali Bongo Ondimba, Guinea's Alpha Condé, South Sudan's Salva Kiir, Mozambique's Carlos Agostinho do Rosario, Lesotho's Bethuel Pakalitha Mosisili and Sao Tome and Principe's Patrice Emery Trovoada, the vice president of Botswana Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi and the king of Swaziland Mswati III.

The bilateral meetings are to start at 9.00 am and with each meeting slotted for about half an hour, Modi is expected to devote 10 hours to his bilateral meetings with these heads of state. The prime minister will also be meeting heads of state and governments bilaterally on 29 October as well as 30 October, foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj will inaugurate a Business Forum, representing business associations of India and Africa, and will also hold bilateral meetings with some of her African counterparts.

Several African businessmen are expected to participate in the day-long deliberations.

India and Africa have worked together to develop a common understanding of core priorities for an inclusive economic growth to eradicate poverty and allocate adequate resources for sustainable development, according to the external affairs minister.