There was a new energy in the India-Africa equation in the recent years and they would scale greater heights hand-in-hand, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Wednesday.
India’s relationship with Africa progressed through consultative and responsive mechanisms under the rubric of the India-Africa Forum Summit and the conference of 2015 infused a new dynamism in the ties, he said at the valedictory session of a conference on “Understanding Africa: Continuity and Change” at the India International Centre here.
Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s specific guidance, the political engagement between India and Africa intensified in the last five years like never before with 34 outgoing visits to African countries at the level of the president, the vice president and the prime minister, Shringla said.
There was not a single country in the African continent that was not visited by at least one Union Minister, he pointed out.
“The picture on trade and investment is encouraging. The India-Africa trade in the previous year was valued at USD 69 billion, a 12 per cent annual increase,” Shringla said.
In terms of development cooperation, over two-thirds of India’s Lines of Credit (LoCs) in the past decade were offered to African countries, he added.
“Currently, 189 projects in 42 African countries, valued at USD 11.4 billion, are being implemented under Indian LoCs. These projects range from drinking water schemes to irrigation, solar electrification, power plants, transmission lines, cement plants, technology parks and railway infrastructure.
“But there are still challenges that need to be addressed, there are still frontiers that need to crossed. As Madiba, the great Nelson Mandela, famously said, ‘After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb’,” the foreign secretary said.
India and Africa had scaled heights hand-in-hand and would scale greater heights together in the years to come, he added.