George Chisoko in New Dehli, India
INDIA remains committed to strengthening and deepening co-operation and strategic partnerships with Africa, including Zimbabwe, and has in the last five years extended $7,4 billion in concessional lines of credit towards economic development, Indian Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi said yesterday.
Addressing 40 journalists at State House, ahead of the start of the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit on Monday, the PM said there was need to further strengthen economic and political relations between India and Africa given that the former was fast emerging as a major investor from the developing world in Africa, surpassing China.
President Mugabe is expected to be among the 40 Heads of State and Government at the summit. PM Modi told the journalists, who are here on a familiarisation tour of India, that the lines of concessionary credit had been committed to Africa at the first and second India Africa Summit in 2008 and 2011 respectively, in the areas of energy, infrastructure, water, industry and agriculture.
“I see enormous opportunities for trade and investment ties between India and Africa. Both India and Africa will grow, modernise and urbanise at a rapid rate. Indeed our economic partnership is gathering momentum. The first and second summits did not involve the participation of all African countries and we see their involvement now as a serious indication of the desire of all parties to take the relations to new height,” said PM Modi.
India’s trade with Africa has more than doubled in the fiscal year 2014/15 to $72 billion from $30 billion in the fiscal year 2007/08 and has also committed $1,2 billion to help finance human resources development and establish over 100 capacity building institutions in Africa.
The country has made its presence felt in Zimbabwe where it is involved in infrastructure and energy development, in addition to capacity building.
“ Our approach to partnership with Africa is driven by the aim of empowerment, capacity building, human resource development, access to Indian markets and support for Indian investments in Africa. Our relationship with Africa is unique and does not need any point of reference.
“As both India and Africa emerge as the new frontiers of opportunities in the 21st century , I am looking forward to the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit to explore with African leaders how we can further expand our economic partnership and work towards shaping a more favourable global and economic environment and institutional framework,” said the prime minister.
The summit is also expected to address the problems of climate change and key challenges of food, health and environmental security, among other issues.