India looking forward to hosting 4th India-Africa Summit: EAM

New Delhi, (UNI) India and Africa must engage and must work together very closely, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday, and added that India is looking forward organising the Fourth India-Africa Forum Summit.

In his remarks at the Africa Day celebrations here, the EAM said:

“India and Africa must engage and must work together very closely. In this regard, we look forward to organising the IAFS IV Summit, and we seek your support to do so. We hope that the event would provide a more contemporary agenda of cooperation between us.”

The EAM said that “Africa is a continent with the youngest demographies, with vast natural resources, expanding capabilities, growing markets and rising ambitions. India, the most populous country in the world and currently the fifth largest economy looks at Africa as a natural partner. Anchored in trust and mutual respect, it is focused now on value addition within Africa, with production, research, localisation and local employment.”

Stressing that People-to -people relations are an important dimension of India’s relations with Africa, the EAM said that New Delhi has extended e-Visa facilities to 33 African countries. “We have also expanded our diplomatic footprint in Africa with the opening of 16 new diplomatic Missions, taking the total number of Indian Missions in the continent to 45.”

Elaborating on India’s capacity building programmes, he said that several African leaders have studied in educational or training institutions in India.

India has been at the forefront to provide capacity-building and training to African candidates under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme. Almost 40,000 Africans have been trained in India under ITEC in the last 10 years. It is also a matter of pride for us that over 23,000 African students live and study in India. We have also established Indian educational institutions in Africa. The Indian Institute of Technology in Zanzibar (Tanzania), the National Forensic Science University in Uganda, the Entrepreneurship Development Centres in Rwanda, the various Centres of Information technology in several countries testify to India’s commitment to advancing the AU’s focus for this year ‘Educate an African Fit for the 21st Century’, he added.

In the field of infrastructure development in Africa, India has completed 206 projects in 43 African countries and 65 projects are being implemented under Indian concessional loans with a total outlay of over US$ 12.37 billion. 81 more projects are at a preparatory stage. These cover drinking water and irrigation schemes, power plants and transmission lines, cement, sugar and textile plants, technology parks and railway infrastructure.

On the trade and economic front, India is the fourth largest trading partner for Africa with a bilateral trade of about US$100 billion and cumulative investments of more than US$ 75 billion. The African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) opens up prospects for a deeper economic integration. India is the first developing country to provide non-reciprocal duty-free market access to LDCs through its duty-free tariff preference (DFTP) scheme. This has benefited African LDCs by extending duty free access to 98.2 per cent of India’s total tariff lines. 33 of these beneficiary nations are in Africa, he added.

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