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Remarks by Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri V. Muraleedharan at the Valedictory Session of 17th CII EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Growth Partnership

July 20, 2022

His Excellency Dr. James Wani Igga,
Vice-President of South Sudan
His Excellency Mr. Badara A. Joof,
Vice-President of The Gambia
His Excellency Mr. Alem Woldemariam,
Head of Mission, Eritrea, Dean of Diplomatic Corps
Shri B.V.R. Subrahmanyam, Secretary, Ministry of Commerce
Shri Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII
Ms. Harsha Bangari, Managing Director, EXIM Bank
Shri S. Kuppuswamy, Co-Chair, CII Africa Committee
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon,


It is my pleasure to address this valedictory session of the 17th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave’s on India-Africa Growth Partnership.

I am delighted that after last two virtual editions, we are able to make this conclave in person. I am happy to note that there are over 1000 representatives from government and businesses from 41 countries from Africa attending this conclave. The conclave covered ten sectoral sessions including agriculture, food processing, development and energy infrastructure, defence, startups, healthcare, pharma, IT, skill development and financial partnership. These are very important areas in our relationship with Africa. I am aware that there are over 185 project profiles from 31 countries covering all these ten sectoral sessions which have been shared by Africa seeking collaboration. I attended yesterday’s Plenary session of EAM, where EAM outlined the broad India-Africa relationship and a way forward to take this engagement to next level.

While we all are on same page and identified potential areas, it is time that we deeply examine and implement as many projects as possible to enhance engagements with Africa. Our engagement with Africa has grown manifold during the last few years. I am confident that this conclave provides strong platform and shows the direction in which India-Africa partnership should go. We as stakeholders should utilize the opportunities available in front of us and take the partnership further for the progress of our peoples.

Friends,

As Minister-in-charge of furthering partnership with African countries, I regularly interact with the leadership of African countries. I undertook official visits to 18 countries in Africa during the last three years and interacted with the leadership as well as Indian community. I also remain in constant touch with leaders of many other African countries, telephonically. I can say with conviction that there are ample scope for expanding our partnership in several fields including in agriculture, irrigation, education, science and technology, healthcare and infrastructure. I saw for myself the potential. It is a fact that it has been under utilised. I call upon the business community, to increase the engagements; students and researchers to undertake & involve on more research; business Councils/Chambers to step up their activities for increasing the business & trade flow; and businesses to explore opportunities to increase exports of Make in India products to Africa. I would like to see the relationship take a huge leap forward in the days to come.

India-Africa have historical relations going back to their fight against colonialism and freedom movement. Mahatma Gandhi started his fight against colonial rulers from Africa and later used his experience for India’s freedom struggle. Many African leaders got inspired from Indian freedom movement. I am happy to know that African nations are supporting Indian Missions to celebrate India’s 75th Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav in their respective countries, commemorating 75 years of India’s Independence.

Africa remains in the center of India’s foreign policy. It is testified by 36 high level visits from India and more than 100 high level visits from Africa in the last seven years. During COVID pandemic, our leaders had telephonic conversations, to show solidarity for fight against pandemic, India provided medical assistance worth more than US $ 5 million to more than 25 African countries. India supplied 39.65 million doses of ‘Made in India’ Covid vaccines to 42 African countries. We are now exploring the possibility of joint manufacturing facilities for COVID and other vaccines with some other African countries.

Friends,


We are constantly trying to enhance our engagements with Africa in several fields. Only last week, I met a visiting delegation of Zimbabwe Railways, who signed MOU with RITES for railway projects. Recently in the month of April, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham Institute had organized an event where several Ambassadors from African countries were present. This was to enhance the education collaboration. During the event, Amrita Institute offered 200 scholarships for African students. I request all the African countries to use the opportunity to utilize the scholarships.

India extended concessional loan over US$ 12.3 billion to various projects in Africa. With support from African nations, EXIM bank of India and relevant stakeholders, we have completed 197 important projects, and, currently, we are executing 65 projects, while 81 projects are being examined. Significant development projects such as drinking water schemes to irrigation, rural solar electrification, power plants, transmission lines, cement, sugar & textile factories, technology parks, railway infrastructure, etc. have contributed for socio-economic development of Africa. During my visits to The Gambia, Senegal, Uganda, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Malawi and several other countries, I myself have seen several development cooperation projects with Indian assistance. These are bringing positive changes on the lives of people of Africa.

Friends,

Being demographically young country, India understands the aspirations of the youth. India is always ready to share its experience with African partner countries to provide training, education and skill development to the youth. India’s engagement with African youth has deepened by establishing eight vocational training centres(VTCs), 8 IT centres, a Centre for Geo-informatics Applications in Rural Development (CGARD) in Madagascar. During my visit to Rwanda last year, I inaugurated India- Rwanda Entrepreneurship Development Center in Kigali. We wish that all these centers would play a key role for African youth specifically rural youth to fulfil their dreams and aspirations.

On behalf of Government of India, I specifically thank the Vice Presidents of Mauritius, South Sudan, The Gambia and Zambia and Deputy Prime Minister of Namibia who came to India to participate in the conclave. I note that the sessions of EAM and our Minister of Commerce Shri Piyush Goyal have added greater value to this conclave.

Friends,

In conclusion, I thank the team of CII, EXIM Bank and my MEA team for their hard work to make this event a signature one. I am confident that such conclave would provide a momentum to take forward the good relationship that we already enjoy with Africa.

Thank you

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