Diplomatist Magazine Diplomatist April 2018 - Page 53

The most important step towards the promotion of partnership between India and Africa, and the greatest diplomatic success of India since it gained independence was made at the fi rst India-Africa Forum Summit in April 2008. effect from 1 April, 2004 to include almost all countries of the continent. The main ongoing activities under this program focus on commercial issues as a priority by Indian missions in African countries, review of trade and related issues, increased interaction among businessmen through Joint Business Councils, CEO forums, etc. Moreover, special provision for funding warehousing, overseas offi ces by export/trading houses under Market Developmental Assistance is also prevalent. Pan-Africa e-Network Project: It is one of the best examples of Indian capacity building efforts in Africa. The pan-African e-Network project is an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) programme between India and the African Union that seeks to connect 54 African countries with each other as well as to India through a satellite and fibre optic network which will enable the sharing of expertise. It is one of the most ambitious projects for distance education and tele-medicine ever undertaken in Africa. In addition, the network is also equipped to support e-governance, e-commerce, infotainment, resource mapping, metrological and other services in the African countries. India-Africa Forum Summits: The most important step towards the promotion of partnership between India and Africa, and the greatest diplomatic success of India since it gained independence was made at the fi rst India-Africa Forum Summit in April 2008. Africa-India trade has multiplied in the last 15 years and doubled in the last fi ve years to reach nearly $72 billion in 2014-2015. At IAFS-II, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Government of India announced the opening of various institutions in Africa. A total of 19 capacity building institutions were decided to be set up, which included two pan- African institutions in East Africa, the India-Africa Institute of Foreign Trade in Uganda, and the India-Africa Institute of Education, Planning and Administration in Burundi. India also pledged to build over 100 training institutes across the continent during the last two IAFS apart from offering a number of scholarships like ICCR scholarships to African students wishing to study in Indian universities, India-Africa Forum Summit Agricultural Scholarships, and C.V. Raman Scientifi c Fellowship. India has also launched an initiative to establish and strengthen common infrastructure and facilities for pan-African development of some key industry sectors like the India-Africa Food Processing Cluster and India-Africa Textile Cluster. From October 26-29 2015, the IAFS-III was held in New Delhi in which a total of 41 African Heads of State and Government participated. The main focus of this summit was on enhancing development cooperation between India and Africa. India gave $10 billion in Lines of Credit over the next fi ve years and also a grant assistance of $600 million. Private Initiatives: One of the notable activities for enhancing economic cooperation between India and the African continent is the Conclave of India-Africa Project Partnership, launched in 2005. The conclave has developed into a platform that has enhanced the presence of ‘Brand India’ in African countries. This project has created benchmarks for industry and government from India and the African regi on. Over the years, various projects have been discussed at the conclave and Lines of Credit announced for the African region have been utilized. The Government of India’s Line of Credit facilitated by EXIM Bank has provided loans for Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Diplomatist • Vol 6 • Issue 4 • April 2018, Noida • 51