: International News
On Africa Day, India pledges $5.7 billion, gets UN seat
Addis Ababa, May 26, 2011
India announced a $5.7 billion gift
package for Africa as part of its growing engagement with the
53-nation continent as the curtains came down on the 2nd
Africa-India Summit here Wednesday with both sides pledging
full support for each other's resurgence.
India also announced the establishment of over 80
capacity-building institutions across the continent as the
African Union came out in support of India's claim for a
permanent seat in the UN Security Council.
The summit, held every three years, culminated in the Addis
Ababa Declaration and the Africa-India Framework of
Cooperation that sought to add "strategic depth" to the
relationship and promote mutual resurgence.
The two documents will serve as a template for expanding the
development-centric partnership revolving around enhanced
trade, capacity-building and training till the next summit in
New Delhi in 2014.
"Africa is determined to partner in India's economic
resurgence as India is committed to be a close partner in
Africa's renaissance," said the Addis Ababa Declaration,
adding: "African countries are progressing rapidly, opening
greater avenues for economic cooperation."
Both sides also committed themselves to supporting their
candidatures "with full rights" in an expanded UN Security
The two sides resolved to forge "a contemporary and modern
partnership" and discussed a broad sweep of economic relations
including trade and investment and global issues such as the
UN reforms, terrorism, piracy, global trade neogtiations and
"Our total commitment over the next three years is expected to
be 5.7 billion dollars to help Africa achieve its development
goals," Manmohan Singh said at a joint press conference with
Teodore Obiang Nguema Mbasago, chairperson of the African
Union and president of Equatorial Guinea.
"The consolidation of our financial assistance consisting of
grants and lines of credit into a cohesive plan has begun to
show results in projects of interest to Africa," he said in
the Ethiopian capital, the seat of the 53-nation African
"The similarity of our development experiences and
circumstances has made India-Africa cooperation a genuine
two-way street. This is its true strength and its distinctive
feature," he said at the end of the two-day summit in which
leaders of 15 African countries - selected by the African
Union to represent the continent - and India took part.
Conveying his greetings on the occasion of Africa Day which
commemorates the establishment of the Organisation of the
African Union (OAU), Manmohan Singh announced that India will
set up over 80 new institutions at the pan-African, regional
and bilateral levels in consultation with the African Union.
These institutions will encompass a wide array of areas
ranging from agriculture, rural development and food
processing to information technology, vocational training,
English language centres and entrepreneurial development
"In accordance with Africa's own priorities, we have decided
to significantly enhance support for institutional
capacity-building, technical assistance and training
programmes for human resource development in Africa," Manmohan
Welcoming India's initiatives and request-based approach,
Africa declared its support for India's candidature for a
permanent seat in the UN Security Council and backed New
Delhi's stand for reform of global institutions of governance.
"Africa not only expects from India, but will be able to
assist India in areas like the UN reforms," the Equatorial
Guinea president said in response to a question at the press
"India will be able to count on the support of Africa (for
India's bid for a permanent seat in the Security Council," he
The 53-nation African Union holds the key to reform and
expansion of the UN Security Council and India's ambitions for
a permanent seat in the global body.
Signalling a new economic surge into Africa, Manmohan Singh
said India was not deterred by reports of political
instability from investing in Africa. He underlined that the
Indian government had "full faith" in the societies and
systems of Africa.
"There is an old saying attributed to Lord Keynes that an act
of investment is an act of faith," he said at the joint press
"The government and people of India have enough faith in the
societies, systems and governments of Africa to overcome
temporary difficulties," Manmohan Singh replied when an
African journalist asked him what made India invest in Africa
despite political instability in parts of the continent.
"They have the necessary will and resources to overcome them,"
the Indian leader stated.
He struck an optimistic note about the expansion of
India-Africa economic ties. India's bilateral trade is
currently estimated to be $46 billion and has now set an
ambitious target of $70 billion by 2015.
A wave of Afro-optimism has swept India Inc., with almost
every major Indian corporate house making economic forays into
different African countries.