India, Africa adopt plan of action for enhanced cooperation

India and over 40 countries of the African continent on Friday adopted an action plan for enhanced cooperation.

New Delhi: Terming India-Africa partnership a "new paradigm" of South-South cooperation for a contemporary Africa, India and over 40 countries of the African continent on Friday adopted an action plan for enhanced cooperation.

The two sides adopted the Plan of Action of the Enhanced Framework for Cooperation ahead of the forum summit scheduled next year.

Addressing the gathering of 42 Heads of Missions of African countries and senior government officials and implementing agencies, Sudhir Vyas (Secretary West) in the Ministry of External Affairs said India is focusing on capacity building and development work in a major way in Africa that is "non-intrusive" and sensitive to the needs of and in consultation with the African partner countries.

"We are committed to implementing the plan of action in letter and spirit," he said.

He said India is setting up 80 new capacity building institutions in African countries that would help in the development process in Africa. On the pan-African level, India is building six institutes as part of India-Africa Forum Summit-II (IAFS) framework.

These comprise an India-Africa food processing cluster, a textile cluster, centre for medium range weather forecast, a university for life and earth sciences and in agriculture and civil aviation.

Vyas said India would also help at the regional level in capacity building of the youth with programmes in vocational training in various fields.

India is also setting up 10 more vocational training centres in African countries involving the Indian civil society, he said. With many non-Anglophone African countries evincing interest in learning the English language, India is also setting up English language training centres.

Vyas said India`s participation in capacity building would be "flexible" and include any additional requirements voiced by the African partners. India is also helping to set up entrepreneurship centres that would focus on food processing, IT, and renewable energy, among other fields.

He said India as part of the outreach programme for youth is keen to promote closer cooperation between their youth to encourage and promote more collaborative channels of communication.

Vyas said the CII-EXIM bank annual India-Africa conclave held in March this year fetched 500 individual specific projects involving USD 70 billion in planning.

Around 80 young Parliamentarians from African countries were also visiting India to "expose the future leadership to the possibilities of India-Africa engagement", he said. As part of this, the last batch of 20 Parliamentarians would be visiting India next March during the CII-EXIM bank conclave.

He said lack of dissemination of the collaborative work was an area of concern which was being addressed by the launch of the India-Africa Connect website, a portal which disseminates news and information.

Vyas also said that India was keen for early implementation of some of the projects envisioned earlier.

Ambassador Jean Baptiste Natama, chief of staff of the African Union (AU) Commission, said the plan of action was helping keep up the momentum of their cooperation.

He said India is "contributing significantly to the globalisation process in knowledge and applied sciences in Africa".

He described IAFS-II as focusing on the "new partnership paradigm of South-South cooperation" between the two sides. "India-Africa partnership is moving in the right direction," Natama said. The action plan is with the goal for mutual benefit of both sides, he stressed.

Natama said Africa would take all steps for smooth implementation of IAFS projects.


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