INDIA AFRICA FORUM SUMMIT
The third edition of the four day IAFS summit.
New Hopes, New Horizons
It was a celebration of entwined dreams, surging aspirations and combined strengths of over two billion people of India and Africa, home to nearly one-third of the world’s humanity. The Third India-Africa Forum Summit held in New Delhi (October 26-29) unveiled a “dynamic and transformative agenda” of mutual empowerment and mutual resurgence that will bring India and Africa closer in years and decades to come.
The IAFS-III, which brought 41 African heads of state and government and representatives from other countries from this diverse continent to India for the first time, was indeed a milestone, a transformational moment in the centuries-old fraternal relations between India and Africa.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi placed the rapidly expanding partnership in the context of the interlinked resurgence of India and Africa. “We will raise the level of our support for your vision of a prosperous, integrated, and united Africa that is a major partner for the world,” he stressed.
Animated by a common vision of a radiant future, India and Africa reaffirmed their joint resolve to walk shoulder to shoulder to refashion their destiny anew, speak in one voice on the UN reforms and shape the contours of a new world order. The vision document entitled ‘Delhi Declaration 2015’ and India-Africa framework for Strategic Cooperation outlined a multi-faceted strategy for dovetailing the India growth story with Africa’s Agenda 2063 to spur mutual resurgence.
The declaration placed development cooperation at the heart of India-Africa partnership, with India unveiling $10 billion in Lines of Credit for a host of development projects over the next five years and pledging a grant assistance of $600 million. This grant includes an India-Africa Development Fund of $100 million and an India-Africa Health Fund of $10 million.
“Today, the dreams of one-third of humanity have come together under one roof. Today, the heartbeat of 1.25 billion Indians and 1.25 billion Africans are in rhythm,”.
–Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Afro-Indian solidarity has evolved from the eradication of colonialism and racial discrimination to become the embodiment of South - South Cooperation that is holistic and contains geopolitical, cultural, educational, technical and economic components.- Jacob Zuma, President of Republic of South Africa
"There was a time when India and Africa were one landmass, united by geology. Today, we are united by our common goal for progress, prosperity and peace around the world. Our modern partnership rests on the pillars of economic growth, development and empowerment and is a consolidation of our engagement at various levels – bilateral, regional and pan African".
-External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj
Call it the power of 55. Home to over two billion people, India and the 54-nation African continent are scripting a new chapter of renewal and resurgence. It’s a winning combination of mutual empowerment, blending the rich resources and energy of Africa with technical expertise and capacity of India, one of the world’s fastest growing economies and an emerging knowledge power.
"Fabric of this world is richer because of the 54 sovereign flags of Africa".
-Prime Minister Narendra Modi
The third India-Africa Forum Summit, (IAFS-III) brought the leaders and representatives of all 54 countries of the dynamic African countries to New Delhi for first time in a landmark summit meeting that is set to upscale and transform the multi-faceted India-Africa partnership. This was by far the biggest gathering of African leaders on the Indian soil and showcased multiple dimensions of the India-Africa relationship that is pivoted around trade, training, technology, capacity building and development partnership. In a clear reaffirmation of their unstinting commitment to building lasting partnerships with India, 41 countries were represented at the level of heads of state/government.
The architecture of the India-Africa engagement is evolving, with the two sides relating at three levels, namely bilateral, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the African Union.
The IAFS-III brought out vividly an increasing convergence of interests, values and a burgeoning web of win-win partnership between the two growth poles of the world. Afro-optimism is for real, and is attested by latest trends, with more than thirty African countries becoming functioning democracies.
Driven by Enterprise and Innovation
And it’s not just resource-rich countries that are doing well, but also those countries, which are driven by enterprise and innovation of their people.
The resurgence of Africa has coincided with the rise of India as a global player, investor and provider of developmental assistance. The two narratives are now getting intertwined: be it trade, technology, training or reform of global governance, the multi-faceted ties between India and Africa are blossoming and finding new areas of convergence. The third India-Africa Forum Summit has opened new avenues for upscaling the India-Africa partnership across the spectrum.
Journeys Across Africa
The third India-Africa Forum Summit was unique in many ways. In a first-ever exercise of this scale, 17 special envoys were sent by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to invite the leaders of various African countries for the IAFS-III. Each invitation carried a personal message from the prime minister of India and reflected the Indian civilizational ideal of treating guest as God which is encapsulated in the Sanskrit credo, ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj handed over the invitation to South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma to attend IAFS-III during her visit to Pretoria. Minister of State for External Affairs, Gen (Retd). V. K. Singh, visited eight countries to extend invitations, that included Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, Angola, Mozambique, South Sudan, Eritrea and Sudan.
The journeys across Africa by special envoys also provided an opportunity to New Delhi to engage with the leadership of all African countries and seek their inputs and guidance for the biggest India-Africa summit in the annals of diplomatic engagement between the two sides.
India rolled out the red carpet to welcome leaders and representatives of 54 African countries for IAFS-III. They were warmly received by these special envoys when they arrived in India.
Mutual development is the heart of the burgeoning India-Africa partnership. The multifarious development partnership, pivoted on concessional finance, capacity building, training, and nurturing of the human capital, saw a marked upswing at IAFS-III, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiling $10 billion in additional Lines of Credit and a grant assistance of USD 600 million to Africa for a host of development projects in Africa over the next five years.
The grant will include an India-Africa Development Fund of $100 million and an India-Africa Health Fund of $10 million. It will also include 50,000 scholarships in India over the next five years and support the expansion of the Pan Africa E-Network and institutions of skilling, training and learning across Africa.The $10.6 billion financial pledge for Africa till 2020 is more than the combined amount in concessional finance and grant committed by India over the last two summits, signalling New Delhi’s unflinching resolve to take the India-Africa partnership to new heights, qualitatively and quantitatively.
ITEC: Changing Lives
With two-thirds of the population of India and Africa under 35 years, human resource development remains the sturdy pillar of India-Africa cooperation. In the last three years alone, nearly 25,000 young Africans have been trained and educated at different institutions in India, forging lasting links between the two emerging regions of the world. The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme exemplifies the transformative power of knowledge-sharing and has acted as a sturdy bridge connecting young Indians and Africans.
The development partnership, envisaged in the broader framework of South-South cooperation and solidarity, has been crafted to dovetail India’s growing prowess in knowledge sector with ‘Africa’s Vision 2063’ to nourish and sustain growth, stability and prosperity of these emergent poles of the world.
“Two-thirds of India and two-thirds of Africa is under the age of 35 years. And, if the future belongs to the youth, then this century is ours to shape and build.”
-Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Amid the unfolding African resurgence, India and the 54-nation continent have mapped out an ambitious and multi-promged plan to provide a fresh ballast to their burgeoning economic ties. The emerging business alchemy between the two global growth centres was reflected in the Trade Ministers’ Meeting and other events, including Business Exhibition, Focus Africa conference and India-Africa Business Forum, held in the Indian capital in the run up to the third India-Africa Forum Summit. Reflecting their simultaneous resurgence, the India-Africa trade has exceeded $70 billion.
The emerging business alchemy between the two global growth centres was reflected in the Business Exhibition and Trade Ministers’ Meeting held in the Indian capital in the run up to the third India-Africa Forum Summit. Reflecting their simultaneous resurgence, the India-Africa trade has exceeded $70 billion.
The new phase of economic partnership, unveiled during IAFS-III, will be underpinned by sustainable growth and link Africa’s Agenda 2063 and priorities of the Indian government through poverty eradication, better healthcare, education, employment, access to modern energy services, infrastructure and connectivity between resources and markets.
Closer cooperation in institution-building, infrastructure development, public-private partnership and development of small and medium industries were identified as major focus areas in the broad-based economic partnership.
Business Exhibition: Showcasing Innovation
Innovation, ingenuity and inventiveness. These were buzzwords at the Business Exhibition that was hosted by India’s top business chambers at the Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex from October 26-29. The expo was a show-stealer, and saw an unending stream of footfalls by India and African business leaders. Inaugurated by Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh and AUC Trade Commissioner Ms. Fatima H Acyl, the exhibition was themed into five sections - Infrastructure, Agriculture, Renewable Energy, Health Care, Technology & Innovations – Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the exhibition on October 29, along with AUC Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
Trade Ministers’ Meeting: Co-scripting Economic Renaissance
Moving up the value chain, creating jobs, bolstering infrastructure, food security and congruence on multilateral trade issues – these were the key themes that framed the Fourth India-Africa Trade Ministers' Meeting held in New Delhi on October 23, ahead of IAFS-III. Trade ministers and officials of various African countries and eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs) met in New Delhi to firm up a multi-layered strategy to scale up bilateral trade and investment between the two resurgent growth poles of the world.
The two sides agreed to intensify economic partnership across the spectrum and unveiled plans to ramp up cooperation in key sectors, including infrastructure, agriculture, healthcare, energy, engineering, agro-processing, textiles, leather and pharmaceuticals.
“We will cooperate for sustainable development of Blue Economy that will become important future drivers of our prosperity. For me, Blue Economy is part of a larger Blue Revolution to reclaim our blue skies and blue waters, as we move on the path of clean development.”
– Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Amid the growing salience of ocean economy, IAFS-III mapped out a blueprint for enhanced cooperation in developing blue economy and to promote what Prime Minister Narendra Modi called “the blue revolution.” Blue Economy aims at sustainable development of marine resources, which will drive growth and prosperity of India, Africa and other littoral states blessed with long coastlines.
The Delhi Declaration 2015 charts out a detailed plan for development of blue economy, which includes combating illegal and unregulated fishing, managing marine resources, exploring non-marine resources, conducting hydrography surveys, promoting eco-tourism, developing renewable energy, disaster risk reduction through modern early warning tools, pollution control and other coastal and ocean studies.
Reshaping World Order
Home to around one-third of the world’s humanity, India and Africa are central to reshaping an emerging world order to reflect priorities and aspirations of the emerging Global South. The third India-Africa Forum Summit saw a striking convergence of positions between India and 54 African countries to address a host of cross-cutting global issues, ranging from the UN Security Council reforms, piracy/maritime security and terrorism to multilateral trade negotiations, climate change and sustainable development.
In his address before African leaders at IAFS-III, PM Modi made a forceful pitch for reforms of global governance institutions, political and economic, with permanent seats for India and Africa in a reformed UN Security Council.
“Our institutions cannot be representative of our world, if they do not give voice to Africa, with more than a quarter of UN members, or the world’s largest democracy with one-sixth of humanity.” “India and Africa must speak in one voice for reforms of the United Nations, including its Security Council,” he said.
Climate Change: Clean & Green
Clean and Green is poised to be the new mantra of the new phase of the India-Africa partnership, with the two sides collaborating closely to secure a balanced and comprehensive global climate deal at Paris COP21 and planning to upscale the share of renewables in their energy calculus.
PM Modi unveiled a plan to forge an alliance of solar-rich countries in December and invited African countries to join this solar club. “Our goal is to make solar energy an integral part of our life and reach it to the most unconnected villages and communities.” Looking ahead, the Indian leader spoke about enhanced partnership between India and Africa in clean energy. “We will also deepen India-Africa partnership on clean energy, sustainable habitats, public transport and climate resilient agriculture,” he said.
“It is also true that the excess of few cannot become the burden of many. So, when the world meets in Paris in December, we look to see a comprehensive and concrete outcome that is based on the well-established principles in the UN Convention on Climate Change. We will all do our part for it.”
– Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Investing in Stability
Peacekeeping and peacebuilding are critical to sustain the ongoing resurgence of the African continent. In sync with its civilizational philosophy of non-violence and promoting peace across the globe, India has played a crucial role in the UN peacekeeping missions across the continent.
India is currently involved actively in four major peacekeeping missions in Africa, which includes Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), South Sudan (UNMISS), Ivory Coast (UNOCI) and Liberia (UNMIL). Put together, India has deployed about 4,500 soldiers on the ground, including the only fully formed female police unit in Liberia. At the IAFS-III, India and Arica decided to bolster their cooperation in enhancing capacity to contribute to peacekeeping and peace-building efforts including support to the African Standby Force (ASF).
India plans to conduct a new training course at the Centre for UN Peacekeeping (CUNPK) in New Delhi and at other Peacekeeping Training Centers in Africa dedicated for Training of Trainers from upcoming Troop Contributing Countries from Africa. They also agreed on jointly promoting greater involvement of the Troop Contributing Countries in the decision-making process.
Liberia: All-Female Police Force
In Liberia, under UNMIL there are 250 Indian troops deployed with India contributing both male and female Formed Police Units from CRPF and its specialized unit RAF in Liberia. The iconic Female Formed Police Unit (FPU) has become an inspiration for the women of the host nation and a trendsetter for other such female FPUs across the Globe.
The IAFS-III envisages an enhanced role of women in peace keeping and propagating the culture of peace.
Dialogue of Ideas
Bridging knowledge deficit and widening the arc of understanding between India and Africa – this was the shared master-theme of an academic conference and the India-Africa Editors’ Forum, which were organized ahead of the IAFS-III. The two conferences focused on intensifying dialogue between academics, scholars, journalists, thought leaders and civil societies to firm up an emerging template of India-Africa partnership, which will be underpinned by three Cs: Connectivity (physical and mental), Complementarity and Cooperation.
The academics’ conference entitled “India-Africa Partnership: Scale and Scope of Comprehensive Partnership” was organised by Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) , India’s premier think tank, in New Delhi on October 15-16. The conference suggested closer interaction between think tanks, universities and civil society organisations of India and Africa.
With the India-Africa engagement set to grow exponentially in years to come in all areas, the third edition of India-Africa Editors’ Forum, held in New Delhi on October 25, led to the forging of a concrete plan of action to create new narratives about each other, which are not cluttered by clichés and stereotypes. Inaugurating the Editors’ Forum, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj underlined the need for greater dialogue and engagement between the media of the two sides to catalyse “a Renaissance of New Ideas, Thoughts and Vision.”
The forum concluded with a set of recommendations to enhance cooperation between the media of the two emerging regions of the world. These included, among others, the institutionalization of the India-Africa Editors’ Forum, posting of more journalists by Indian and Africa media outlets in each other’s regions, promoting the visits of journalists, and forging multiple platforms for an exchange of perspectives among media practitioners of both sides.
Fusing Rhythms and Values
It’s a confluence of cultures, shared histories and intertwined dreams. Blending the primordial sounds of African drums and sufi songs from Egypt with classical Indian dance, Vedic chants and Bollywood music, the India-Africa Forum Summit pulsated with creative energies of Indian and African artistes.
The summit kicked off with a resplendent multi-media cultural programme, which included ‘Chants of Faith’, seeking blessings for the revitalization of India and Africa.
“For Africa and India, diversity is our lifeblood; it enriches us and makes us even stronger. It ensures that we value coexistence, dialogue, mutual understanding and peace. These are perspectives on the human development that India and Africa share, these are perspectives that we can together contribute to the rest of the world for handling conflicts and crises.”
-President Pranab Mukherjee
Vedic incantations mingled with African song Kealebog, celebrating India’s diversity and Africa’s awakening. The show culminated with One Beat, One Rhythm and One Vision of a radiant future. The Rashtrapati Bhavan shone with a captivating spectacle of Indo-African fusion music and dance at the end of the summit on October 29. The gala show, which cohered artistes from Africa and India in a celebration of shared culture, was staged before the leaders of African countries at the presidential banquet, and elicited a rapturous applause.
In the run-up to the summit, a host of cultural events were organized that brought out ancient and modern cultural connections between Indians and Africans. The cultural synergy rippled forth at the music-and-dance shows staged at the dinners hosted for senior officials and ministers ahead of the summit.
India celebrated the carnival spirit of Africa at the 'Welcome Africa' concert in Nehru Park in Delhi. Part of Delhi International Arts Festival, the evening saw an enthralling performance of Sufi rock and Ghana-based musicians, who effortlessly mingled traditional African percussion music with Hindi songs. Ghanaian performers had the crowd dancing with their renditions of popular Hindi numbers like Ek Din Bik Jayega and Yeh Dosti! The dance group from Ethiopia wove a magic spell, with many in the audience joyously joining in.
Memories of the Mahatma: Ideas Connect
The deeper civilizational connection and synthesis of value-systems was reflected in the ‘Memories of the Mahatma’ exhibition. Gandhi remains an enduring intellectual bridge between India and Africa, with his emphasis on a sustained dialogue of ideas, rather than just an exchange of goods.
Mahatma had said famously: “The commerce between India and Africa will be of ideas and services, not of manufactured goods against raw materials after the fashion of Western exploiters.” It’s this power of culture and ideas to connect that will continue to animate India-Africa relations in days to come.
On a bright and beautiful Sunday (Oct 25), ahead of the third edition of the India-Africa summit, a rose garden at Shantipath in the heart of New Delhi was formally dedicated and christened as the ‘India-Africa Friendship Rose Garden’.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Madagascar’s Foreign Minister Beatrice Jeanine Atallah, Ethiopia’s Ambassador Gennet Zewide, Dean of African Diplomatic Coprs, and representatives from all African countries took part in the function and planted saplings.
What they said
What they said