New Delhi, Oct 11 (IANS) A three-day India-Africa conclave ended Wednesday with the two sides discussing over 300 business projects worth $17 billion and New Delhi calling for 'revitalisation of strategic relationship' to build a new international order.
The third conclave on the India-Africa Project Partnership saw 326 delegates from various African countries and 375 Indian businessmen discussing projects straddling different sectors, including infrastructure, information technology, agriculture, banking, finance, insurance and small and medium industries (SMEs).
India's Africa diplomacy got a big boost with African delegates and ministers profusely thanking New Delhi for its support in empowering Africa through transfer of technology and capacity building projects.
'There is a new expectation and optimism as modern India seeks to enhance its relationship with a resurgent Africa to contribute to the development of a new international order,' Narinder Chauhan, joint secretary (east and south Africa) in the external affairs ministry, told delegates at the conference Wednesday.
The conclave, aimed at accelerating business and economic ties, was organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry in collaboration with the Export Import Bank of India.
'The new matrix of engagement between India and Africa is so multi-faceted and has so many different and substantive elements that allow us to move from a largely political engagement of the period of colonisation to a strong engagement on a developmental agenda in recognition of their priorities which are relevant today,' Chauhan stressed.
Underlining 'the tripod of technology, trade and training' on which the India-Africa relationship rests, Chauhan called for the setting up of an institutional mechanism to enhance strategic relationship between India and Africa.
'India would like to revitalise its strategy for collaboration with Africa on an institutionalised basis so that we can bring at the Pan-African level the same vigour and enthusiasm that so happily coexists in India's relations with African countries on a bilateral basis,' she said.
Africa has institutional arrangements to meet with the European Union, France, China and Japan and is planning similar institutionalised interaction with South America and South Korea.
India-Africa bilateral trade has risen from $967 million in 1991 to 9.14 billion in 2005.
India's engagement with Africa in the area of infrastructure and development is growing and encompasses cooperation in the field of energy, water resources, road building and air connectivity.
India has also offered to share its experiences in agro-engineering, irrigation technologies, water resources, management and seeds technologies to develop agriculture in Africa.
Besides empowering Africa through Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme and educational institutions through Aid to Africa budget, India became the first Asian country to become a full member of the African Capacity Building Fund last year with a contribution of $1 million to building capacity for sustainable development and poverty alleviation.
India is helping build a pan-African e-network that will bridge the digital divide to provide tele-medicines and tele-education to the people of Africa.
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