Your Excellencies the High Commissioners and Ambassadors;
Senior officers of Ministry of External Affairs and TCIL;
Members of the Media;
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;
It is my proud privilege to inaugurate the second phase of the Pan-African e-Network Project today in respect of 12 African countries - Botswana, Burundi, Cote D’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Malawi, Mozambique, Somalia, Uganda and Zambia – along
with senior Ministers of these countries.
I had useful interactions with all the Ministers during which we not only exchanged views on the issues relating to the implementation of the Project but also on other aspects of our bilateral relations.
Friends, the Pan-African e-Network Project is one of the finest examples of the growing partnership between India and Africa. I understand that this is the biggest project of distance education and tele-medicine ever undertaken in Africa.
It is a matter of great pride for India to be the driving force for such an ambitious project, which is fully financed by the Government of India and has an approved budget allocation of Rs 540 crores (US$ 125 million).
Conceptualized on the vision of India’s former president Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam of connecting India with all the fifty three (53) countries of the African Union with a satellite and fibre optic network for sharing India’s expertise in education and health care,
the project is being implemented in 47 African countries, of which actual commissioning has been completed in 34 countries.
Under this Project we have made available the facilities and expertise of some of the best universities and super-specialty hospitals in India to the people of Africa. The project is also equipped to support e-governance, e-commerce, infotainment, resource
mapping and meteorological and other services in the African countries, besides providing VVIP connectivity among the Heads of State of the African countries through a highly secure closed satellite network.
I am happy to learn that more than 1700 students from several African countries have already registered with the Indian universities for the various courses being offered by them under the tele-education component of the Project.
Regular tele-medical consultations have also started between the African doctors and the Indian specialists through this network. Likewise, nearly 700 CME lectures have been held delivered by our doctors from the Indian Super Specialty hospitals.
Taking into account the enthusiastic and encouraging response from our African partners, we have decided to offer training at the regional level by conducting workshops in the tele-medicine and tele-education modules for the benefit of African participants
to facilitate better utilization of different aspects of this Project. I am confident that at the end, both sides would find themselves enriched through mutual exchanges and interactions.
It is a matter of deep satisfaction that the Pan-African e-Network Project has been conferred with ‘The Hermes Prize for Innovation 2010’ by the European Institute for Creative Studies and Innovation for its contribution in the field of sustainable development.
I would like to congratulate all the participating countries on this shared achievement.
I would also like to congratulate all the 47 countries which have joined this Project and especially the 12 countries represented by Your Excellencies where the second phase of the Project was formally inaugurated today.
I commend officials of the TCIL for the sincerity and dedication shown by them while implementing this gigantic project.
August 16, 2010