Your Excellency President Jacob Zuma,
Distinguished BRICS colleagues,
Distinguished Heads of African countries,
Distinguished Heads of institutions from different parts of Africa,
I am pleased to have this opportunity for a dialogue on how BRICS, and in particular India, could contribute to and benefit from the tremendous transformation that has made Africa the continent of hope today.
India’s relations with Africa are rooted in the history of our solidarity against colonialism and apartheid. Mahatma Gandhi developed the tools of peaceful resistance on this very soil. Our engagement with Africa has come a long way since then and today we
have built a new template for partnership in the form of the India-Africa Forum Summit. This partnership is guided by the vision and priorities of our African partners. India will assist Africa in charting its own course through institution-building, infrastructure
development and technical and vocational skill development.
The pan-Africa e-Network for tele-medicine and tele-education, which is now functional in 47 countries in Africa, is a major success story of our institution-building partnership with countries of Africa. We are ready to work with our African partners on e-governance
to help bridge the digital divide in Africa. India is also happy to share its experiences of participative political institutions, local governance, media and civil society with Africa.
Human resource development and capacity-building assistance were mentioned in this very meeting, and we consider them to be at the core of India’s cooperation with Africa, because they enable and empower people to take charge of their own future. Over 15,000
African students are studying in India. Agricultural and scientific fellowships specially designed for African scholars are highly popular. Our assistance with vocational and entrepreneurial skill development, with particular emphasis on small and medium enterprises,
is helping promote employability and job creation for the youth in Africa.
Our concessional assistance is directed towards development of agriculture, infrastructure and industry. We are reviewing the terms and conditions of our lines of credit so that they meet the budgetary requirements of our partners, and are in line with their
own development priorities, utilizing local resources and skills, and creating sustainable revenue-generating assets. On the trade front, our non-reciprocal Duty Free Tariff Preference Scheme Scheme for LDCs has significantly enhanced the access of African
LDCs to the growing Indian market.
Excellencies, India’s enterprising private sector is one of the key drivers of the India-Africa partnership. The Confederation of Indian Industries and the EXIM Bank of India last week organized the 9th Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership, which generated
interest in 500 projects worth 70 billion US dollars.
Excellencies, as has been rightly mentioned by one of the distinguished personalities here, sustainable economic development requires an environment of social and political stability. India actively supports African initiatives for peace and security in the
continent. More than 6,500 Indian soldiers support UN Peacekeeping Operations in various parts of Africa. A large Indian contingent is helping the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo carry out its mandate. We have also made financial
contributions to the African Union Mission in Somalia and the African-led International Support Mission to Mali. We strongly support the restoration of Mali’s territorial integrity as well as constitutional order in that country.
Excellencies, let me conclude by reiterating India’s resolve to work with Africa with the entire spectrum of our expertise and capacity. The BRICS forum offers another avenue for our cooperation. Initiatives such as the BRICS bank could further leverage the
collective capacity of the BRICS countries to assist the historic transformation taking place in Africa. This is an objective that India remains committed to.