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Remarks by External Affairs Minister at the Africa Day Celebrations, New Delhi (May 25, 2018)

May 25, 2018

Dean of African Group,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very happy to be in your midst on this very auspicious day to celebrate the Africa Day. It is also very heartening to see such a large and diverse gathering of friends from Africa. This day has great significance for Africa.

Today is particularly special for India-Africa friendship as this is the first joint celebrations of Africa Day by India and Africa. Since we have drawn inspiration from each other from our history, our values, our common threats, our fight against colonialism and our fight against discrimination, it is only fitting that we should celebrate Africa Day together.


Tomorrow, our Government completes four years under the visionary leadership of our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. While there have been many milestones achieved by our Government in the realm of foreign policy, our outreach with our friends from Africa has been one of our most treasured achievements.

In the last four years, there have been unprecedented visits to 23 African countries from India at the level of President, Vice President and Prime Minister, apart from my own visits to Africa.

I shall be travelling again to South Africa next week for BRICS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting as well as to commemorate the 125th Anniversary of the famous Pietermaritzburg incident, where Mahatma Gandhi was thrown out of a compartment, setting in motion a determination in his mind which finally got India our independence.

Our deep attachment to the African continent can be gauged from the fact that Hon’ble President Kovind chose Africa as his first destination abroad and all his visits abroad till date have been to the African continent.

We have also had the honour to receive several Heads of State and Heads of Government from Africa, including more than 40 Heads of State and Heads of Government during the IAFS-III in New Delhi. Several others had visited India for the International Solar Alliance Founding Conference in March this year. I can assure you that this outreach to the African continent and the significant deliverables from these visits find few parallels.


Keeping in mind the unprecedented engagement with Africa, you must be aware that we have decided to open 18 new Embassies/High Commissions in Africa which will take the number of Indian Missions in Africa to 47.

India has been a long-standing development partner for Africa. With Africa, we have let our heart rule the mind and deep friendship overcome distance. We have always adopted a non-prescriptive approach, non-interference in internal affairs and mutual respect for each other in our developmental partnership with Africa. The presence of a vibrant Indian diaspora has only added another layer to this bond of friendship.

Under IAFS-III, Prime Minister Modi had announced Line of Credit worth US$ 10 Billion and grants worth 600 million and 50,000 scholarships over five years.

I am happy to note that there are currently 168 projects in 41 countries for US$ 9.42 billion being implemented under Lines of Credit in Africa.

These projects cover a wide range from large power projects, iconic buildings and IT Parks to water treatment plants and providing rural drinking water. We also help Africa realise its human resource potential through a number of capacity building programmes like scholarships under ITEC, ICCR and the IAFS format.

We have provided training scholarships to around 16,900 African students and professionals, in addition to several others who have and continue to study in India.


On the trade front, our bilateral trade stood at US$ 62.66 Billion for 2017-18 which reflects an increase of 21.56% over the previous year.

The good news for Africa is that exports from Africa to India have increased. There are growing investments by Indian companies both multinational and SMEs in a range of sectors.

India is the fifth largest investor in Africa with cumulative investment of over US$ 54 Billion from 1996-2016.

We have made it easier for Africans to travel to India by expanding our Electronic Tourist Visa scheme to 33 countries in Africa.

On the cultural front, last 4 years have been exceptional. Festivals of India were organized in 15 countries of Africa, in 12 for the first time.


Our cooperation with Africa is not only at a bilateral level but also at the multilateral level. India’s contribution to providing security in Africa is well-known. India has been contributing to UN Peacekeeping operations as a leading Troop Contributing Country, including the first all-female Police unit of the UN deployed in Liberia.

We are also cooperating with the African countries on the critical issue of UN Security Council Reform, to bring the UN Security Council in line with the contemporary realities.

We have been supporting each other in elections at international level. The election of Justice Dalveer Bhandari to the International Court of Justice in a hard-fought election could not have been achieved without the full support and solidarity of the African countries. Further, our initiative of the International Solar Alliance has been joined by 33 countries from Africa.


India-Africa partnership ‘stands out’ as well as ‘stands on its own’ in the turbulent world of today as a beacon of hope. On this momentous day, on behalf of my Government, let me convey to our African brothers and sisters that in India you will always find a friend, willing to stand with you through thick and thin.

Long live India-Africa friendship!

I thank you.


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