India pitches for greater development ties with Africa

New Delhi, March 19: India Monday pitched for scaling up economic ties with Africa and underlined its commitment to partnering the continent in fulfilling its developmental aspirations.

“We are committed to fulfilling the developmental aspirations of Africa,” Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur told African ministers and business people at the India-Africa business conclave here.

Alluding to the two summits India has held with African leaders, Kaur stressed that India’s partnership with Africa was focused on capacity building, technology transfer and economic cooperation. Technology, investment and training constitute the tripod on which the India-Africa partnership rests, said Kaur.

She said the bilateral trade between India and Africa increased by 35 percent in 2010-11. Bilateral trade is currently estimated to be over $50 billion.

At the second India-Africa Forum Summit in Addis Ababa last year, India pledged $5 billion in lines of credit and $700 million in grants for infrastructure development and for setting up over 100 training institutes across the African continent.

Acknowledging New Delhi’s strengths in knowledge industries, Faustin Archange Touadera, Prime Minister of the Central African Republic, sought India’s increased assistance in infrastructure development and in developing managerial and technical capabilities in his country.

Over 600 industry leaders, ministers and officials from 36 African countries are participating at the 8th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership. They are expected to discuss 250 projects worth $30 billion.

IANS