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PM announces $5 billion aid to Africa

Last updated on: May 24, 2011 18:49 IST

PM announces $5 billion aid to Africa

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Vicky Nanjappa in Addis Ababa

Seeking to make inroads into Africa, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said at the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa that India will continue to support efforts at infrastructure development, before announcing some very handsome grants which aim at helping Africa.

Delivering his address at the Second Africa India Forum Summit, the prime minister said that India will offer $5 billion for the next three years, under lines of credit to help achieve Africa's development goals.

Excerpts from the prime minister's speech:

We will offer and additional $700 million to establish new institutions and training programmes in consultation with the African union and its institutions.

Under the lines of credit that we offered at the first summit, we had specifically looked at promoting regional integration through infrastructural development.

On the African Union's advice, I am happy to announce that we would support the development of a new Ethio-Djibouti railway line to the tune of $300 million for this important regional project.

Following the success of the Pan African network project, we propose to take the next step and establish an India-Africa Virtual University. This we hope will help meet some of the demand in Africa for higher studies in Indian institutions.

We further propose that 10,000 new scholarships under this proposed University will be available for African students after its establishment.

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Image: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh being received by the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn
Photographs: PTI
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PM announces establishment of new institutions

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We would like to make education in India an enriching experience for each student who comes from Africa. We are raising the number of scholarships and training slots for African students and experts, including under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme.

Our total commitment for the next three years by way of scholarships to Africa students will stand at more than 22,000. At the first Summit in 2008, we had focused on capacity building in the human resource development sector.

We believe it would be logical to consolidate this approach. I wish to propose the establishment of the following new institutions at the pan African level:

An India-Africa Food Processing Cluster - This would contribute to value-addition and the creation of regional and export markets.

An India-Africa Integrated Textiles Cluster - This will support the cotton industry and its processing and conversion into high value products.

An India-Africa Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting - This will harness satellite technology for the agriculture and fisheries sectors, as well as contribute towards disaster preparedness and management of natural resources.

We have received a request to support the establishment of an India-Africa University for Life and Earth Sciences. We would be happy to support this important venture; and finally, an India-Africa Institute of Agriculture and Rural Development.

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Image: PM Manmohan Singh in a meeting with Ethiopian Dy PM Hailemariam Desalegn
Photographs: PIB
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'We have to work hard to deliver on expectations'

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One of the biggest gaps in our interaction is that of insufficient air connectivity. We should accord this high priority. To begin with, India would be happy to increase the access of African airlines to Indian cities in a significant manner over the next three years.

The India-Africa partnership is unique and owes its origins to history and our common struggle against colonialism, apartheid, poverty, disease, illiteracy and hunger. 

India will never forget Africa's role in inspiring our own struggle for national liberation. It was here that Mahatma Gandhi developed his political philosophy and developed the concepts of non-violence and peaceful resistance. 

Our officials and ministers have worked hard for our second summit in Ethiopia. Many events involving a wide cross-section of society include trade and business, have been held.

These events have contributed to making the second Africa-India Forum Summit a people's movement. I believe we have reason to be satisfied with what we have achieved since 2008. But our people expect much more and we have to work hard to deliver on these expectations.

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Image: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh inspecting the Guard of Honour in Addis Ababa
Photographs: RIB
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'India will work with Africa to realise its vast potential'

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The current international economic and political situation is far from favourable, particularly for developing countries. Even as the global economy is recovering from the economic crisis, fresh political upheavals are taking place.

The world faces new challenges in assuring food and energy security. Global institutions of governance are outmoded and under stress.

We therefore need a new spirit of solidarity among developing countries. We must recognise that in this globalised age we all live interconnected lives in a small and fragile planet.

We must work together to uplift the lives of our people in a manner that preserves the sustainability of our common air, land and water.

There is a new economic growth story emerging from Africa. Africa possesses all the prerequisites to become a major growth pole of the world. There is good news in the struggle against HIV and AIDS, as well as in improving literacy, reducing infant mortality and building institutions of representative government.

India will work with Africa to realise its vast potential. We believe that a new vision is required for Africa's development and participation in global affairs.

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Image: The PM with the President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang
Photographs: PIB
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'We must enhance our development partnership'

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We do not have all the answers but we have some experience in nation building which we are happy to share with our African brothers and sisters.

It is in this spirit that I wish to outline some initiatives for the consideration of our African partners. These will enhance our development partnership, which are founded on the pillars of mutual equality and common benefit. 

At the bilateral level, we propose to establish institutes for English language training, information technology, entrepreneurship development and vocational training.

As part of our new initiatives in the social and economic sectors we will establish Rural Technology Parks, Food Testing Laboratories, Food Processing Business Incubation Centres and Centres on Geo-Informatics Applications and Rural Development.

We should encourage trade and investment flows as well as transfer of technology. The private sectors should be fully involved in the efforts to integrate our economies. I propose that we establish an India-Africa Business Council which will bring together business leaders from both sides. 

India has consistently supported the development of African capacities in the maintenance of peace and security.

As a token of our commitment to supporting Africa's endeavours for seeking African solutions, I am happy to announce that India will contribute $2 million for the African Union's mission in Somalia.

Image: The PM in meeting with the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi
Photographs: PIB
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