National Conference on ‘India-Africa Partnership in a Changing Global Order’ held in New Delhi
National Conference on ‘India-Africa Partnership in a Changing Global Order: Priorities, Prospects and Challenges’ held in New Delhi. It was organized by Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA).
India and African nations have always been natural partners in civilization, culture, and progress (like both fought colonialism together) which were forged by a strong bond of long traditions of historical goodwill, shared experiences, interests, civilizational contacts, mutuality of worldviews and friendship,.
In cold war era, Africa’s support played a decisive role in making Non- Aligned Movement initiated by India, Egypt and Yugoslavia into a powerful voice of developing world. Thereby, the sense of solidarity and unity formed during Cold War days continues to drive India-Africa relations to this date.
Africa’s ‘Agenda 2063’ for its overall development is in line with India’s broad guiding principles of engagement with the continent. Therefore, India’s interactions with Africa in recent years have acquired vibrancy and dynamism.
In recent years, there has been unprecedented intensification of political engagement with 32 high-level visits from India to African countries apart from several ministerial visits which has helped in overall strengthening of relations between India and Africa.
India has hosted more than 36 leaders from Africa since 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit held in 2015 and has opened 6 additional missions in the region to increase its diplomatic outreach in Africa.
Africa has become an important trade and investment partner for India. With bilateral at $62.66 billion in 2017-2018 and cumulative investments in Africa amounting to $54 billion, this has made India the 4th-largest investor in Africa. However, there remains great uncharted potential to be explored.
India’s development initiatives: such as human resource development and capacity building under Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme, Grant Assistance and Lines of Credit to Africa has made India a close partner of Africa in its socio-economic transformation.
Challenge for India and Africa: is to work together to bring about reformed multilateralism, whether in United Nation and United Nation Security Council (UNSC) or in other international organisations, to change global order. This is not only in mutual interest of both nations but in interest of all developing countries.
India will also work with Africa to improve agriculture as Africa has 60% of world’s arable land, but produces just 10% of global output.
India, with its vast experience with digital revolution would certainly support Africa’s development; spread digital literacy; extend education and health; improve delivery of public services; mainstream the marginalized and expand financial inclusion.
India on its part has initiated a series of policy interventions such as TEAM 9 initiative, Focus Africa Programme and India Africa Forums Summit process to strengthen and diversify India’s the engagement with African states.