New Delhi: Toasting the African resurgence on the occasion of Africa Day, India on Friday underlined its commitment to build a stronger partnership with the 54-nation continent that is increasingly finding its voice on the global stage.
"On Africa Day, we reaffirm our commitment to work together in partnership with Africa to realize our potential by building an even stronger relationship in an environment conducive to prosperity, peace, security and development for our peoples," Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur said in her Africa Day lecture at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) at Sapru House here.
Africa Day commemorates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa on May 25, 1963 and celebrates African unity. The OAU was succeeded by the African Union in 2002.
Taking note of the winds of resurgence sweeping the continent, Kaur said African continent is emerging strongly from decades of lost opportunities in the 1980s and `90s.
"Economically, the African continent is marching ahead with several of its countries posting more than 7 percent growth rate. It is estimated that Africa as a whole will grow at about 5 percent over this second decade of the 21st Century, more than any other continent," she said at the event attended by a large number of African diplomats.
Africa netted $32 billion in foreign direct investment in 2010.
"Whether or not Africa`s growth will be rapid, one thing looks certain: Africa is on the rise and with its impressive human resource there is no reason that the continent cannot achieve the goals of
development which it sets for itself," said Kaur.
Alluding to the blossoming ties between India and Africa, Kaur spoke about how this historical relationship has "been revitalized in the 21st century."
"Our political support for Africa has been augmented by strengthening capacity building, human resource development and closer economic cooperation including economic assistance, functional cooperation, soft loans and private sector investment," she said.
Referring to the two summits India held with Africa in New Delhi in 2008 and in Addis Ababa in 2011, Kaur said two documents, the Addis Ababa Declaration and the Africa India Framework for Enhanced Cooperation, adopted at these summits will continue to guide multi-layered engagement between the two sides in the coming years.