‘India – Africa should ad­dress skill de­vel­op­ment and shar­ing of knowl­edge’

India’s vi­sion­ary ini­tia­tives, such as Jan Dhan Yo­jana, Dig­i­tal India, and Make in India can be em­u­lated to ad­dress sim­i­lar is­sues in Africa

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India and Africa can join to­gether for skill de­vel­op­ment and knowl­edge shar­ing, said MJ Ak­bar, Min­is­ter of State for Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs, Gov­ern­ment of India. Speak­ing at the 12th CII-EXIM Bank Con­clave on India –Africa Project Part­ner­ship, Ak­bar added that the In­dian Prime Min­is­ter's vi­sion­ary ini­tia­tives, such as Jan Dhan Yo­jana, Dig­i­tal India, and Make in India can be em­u­lated to ad­dress sim­i­lar is­sues in Africa.

He re­marked that open economies are turn­ing to pro­tec­tion­ism whereas emerg­ing economies are now the torch­bear­ers of free trade. The ba­sis of India – Africa Part­ner­ship in this field should ad­dress skill de­vel­op­ment and knowl­edge shar­ing, to con­trib­ute to the op­por­tu­ni­ties and there­fore bet­ter lives for peo­ple. He com­pli­mented the ef­forts un­der­taken at the tri-an­nual India – Africa Fo­rum Sum­mit, which in 2015, brought to­gether 54 coun­tries, and con­cluded with the sanc­tion­ing of US$600 mil­lion in grants from India to African na­tions and US$ 50,000 in schol­ar­ships.

Aaron Mike Oquaye, Speaker of Par­lia­ment, Repub­lic of Ghana, noted com­mon colo­nial her­itage and the evo­lu­tion of a his­tor­i­cally close po­lit­i­cal al­liance into a strong eco­nomic part­ner­ship. The part­ner­ship is one of the op­por­tu­ni­ties and ben­e­fits for both sides. En­cour­ag­ing joint ven­tures could be the road ahead. It would be a fal­lacy to paint Africa with a com­mon brush. There is a need to ac­knowl­edge di­ver­sity within the con­ti­nent.

The trade be­tween India and Africa for FY15-16 amounted to US$57 bil­lion with a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in ex­ports and main­tained im­ports. Manoj Dwivedi, Joint Sec­re­tary, De­part­ment of Com­merce, Min­istry of Com­merce and In­dus­try, Gov­ern­ment of India, not­ing this, com­pli­mented deep­en­ing bi­lat­eral ties be­tween these two part­ners. While in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment is im­por­tant, pri­or­ity should be given to ed­u­ca­tion, health, and agri­cul­tural de­vel­op­ment.

Adi Go­drej, Chair­man, CII Africa Com­mit­tee and Chair­man, Go­drej Group, high­lighted the com­ple­men­tar­i­ties be­tween what Africa needs, to de­velop its growth po­ten­tial, and the kind of re­sources and ex­per­tise that India can of­fer. In­dian com­pa­nies will need to en­ter new mar­kets in Africa so they can con­tinue be­ing global play­ers in the 21st cen­tury.

Chan­dra­jit Ban­er­jee, Direc­tor – Gen­eral, Con­fed­er­a­tion of In­dian In­dus­try, said that 472 projects worth US$ 70 bil­lion were dis­cussed over the du­ra­tion of the con­clave. With of­fices in Egypt and Jo­han­nes­burg, South Africa, CII hopes to fa­cil­i­tate more co­op­er­a­tion by ex­pand­ing its pres­ence in other parts of the con­ti­nent. With 450 in­ter­na­tional del­e­gates from 37 coun­tries in­clud­ing 32 min­is­te­rial del­e­ga­tions, the con­clave was an ex­tra­or­di­nary plat­form ex­hibit­ing India – Africa Part­ner­ship.

In­dian and African del­e­ga­tion dur­ing the Con­clave, MoS, Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs, MJ Ak­bar can be seen third from left.

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