India offers to help develop technology, nurture human capital in Africa

29 October 2015

The India-Africa partnership will focus on developing appropriate technology and human capital so that Africa will stand on its own feat and move into a path of self-sustained economic growth and development like most other nations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Delhi today.

Addressing the inaugural session of the India-Africa Forum in the morning, the prime minister said India's approach is based on the belief that the best partnership is one that develops human capital and institutions, which in turn equips and empowers a nation to have the freedom to make its own choices and shoulder the responsibility for its own progress. It also opens doors to opportunities for the youth.

''So, development of human capital in every walk of life will be at the heart of our partnership. We will open our doors more - we will expand tele-education and we will continue to build institutions in Africa,'' Modi said.

The prime minister quoted Egyptian Nobel Prize winning writer Naguib Mahfouz, who said, ''Science brings people together with the light of its ideas…and prods us towards a better future.''

There can be no better expression of the ability of science to unify people and advance progress. So, technology will be a strong foundation of our partnership, he said.

This, he said, will help develop Africa's agriculture sector. Africa has 60 per cent of the world's arable land reserves, and just 10 per cent of the global output. Agriculture in Africa can drive the continent's march to prosperity, and also support global food security.

Besides, he said, India's expertise in healthcare and affordable medicines can offer new hope in the fight against many diseases, especially in the field of childcare. Modi also offered to collaborate with African countries on developing Indian and African treasures of traditional knowledge and medicines.

''We will make available our space assets and technology. We will use the possibilities of digital technology to transform development, public services, governance, disaster response, resource management and quality of life,'' Modi said while addressing leaders of 54 African countries.

Modi also proposed to expand and extend the Pan Africa E-Network, conceived by late President APJ Abdul Kalam, which links 48 African countries to India and to each other. This will also help set up a Pan Africa Virtual University, he said.

We will work to reduce digital divide within Africa and between Africa and rest of the world.

Besides, India offered cooperation for sustainable development of the Blue Economy that will become important future drivers of prosperity.

''For me, Blue Economy is part of a larger Blue Revolution to reclaim our blue skies and blue waters, as we move on the path of clean development,'' Modi said.

Earlier, at one-to-one meetings with several African heads of state, the prime minister proposed expanded cooperation in oil/energy, agriculture, infrastructure, tourism and defence sectors between India and African nations.

Today, Africa and India are two bright spots of hope and opportunities in the global economy, Modi said.

India is 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.

In less than a decade, our trade has 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.

India has 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.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday held one-to-one meetings with 19 African heads of state and officials, who are in Delhi for the third India-Africa Forum Summit.

Briefing newspersons, a senior official of the external affairs ministry said the issue of increasing cooperation in the oil sector came up at meetings with Nigeria, Niger and Equatorial Guinea.

''During their discussions on cooperation between India and Nigeria in the oil sector, the Nigerian President informed the PM that India had become its largest importer of oil replacing the US, while the President of Niger told the PM that his country had further liberalised foreign direct investment rules in the oil sector,'' a senior official of the External Affairs Ministry said.

At the meeting with Swaziland, sugarcane processing as an area of cooperation was discussed, the official added.

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