The first India-Africa forum Summit was held in New Delhi from 8-9 April 2008 built upon the foundations of the historical relationship that has existed between the two, and created a roadmap for a structured interaction, engagement and cooperation in coming years. The Summit renewed India’s commitment to Africa. The two historic documents, the Delhi Declaration and the India Africa Framework of Cooperation were adopted at the end of the Summit. The Delhi Declaration is a political document that covers issues of bilateral, regional and international interests to India and Africa, including our common positions on UN reforms, climate change, WTO and international terrorism, etc. the India Africa Framework for Cooperation spells out the agreed areas of cooperation. Prime Minister announced a substantial increase in the existing lines of credit to Africa to US $ 5.4 billion over the next five years, and a separate grant of US $ 500 million for projects in the areas of capacity building and human resource development. The Heads of State-Government from Africa who attended the India Africa Forum Summit included Mr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of Tanzania, Prof. Alpha Oumar Konare, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr. Joseph Kabila Kabange, President of Congo, Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor, President of Ghana, Mr. Abdoulaye Wade, President of Senegal, Mr. Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa, Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda, Mr. Tertius Zongo, Prime Minister of Burkina Faso and Mr. Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia.
There were several other high-level visits from Africa including Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, Mr. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and Dr Boni Yayi, President of the Republic of Benin. Regular exchanges continued at the ministerial and official levels.
India extended several lines of credit to African countries for specific infrastructure development projects. Both the TEAM-9 and ECOWAS have fully utilized the lines of credit extended to them for projects in different sectors, ranging from agriculture, health, rural electrification, transport and power, which are in the various stages of implementation. Our ongoing political and economic engagement with the Africa Union Commission continued to strengthen, as also our institutional cooperation with regional organisations such as COMESA, SADC, ECCAS and EAC. The Aid to Africa budget of the Ministry was used for other cooperation programmes.
Two successful India-Africa Project Partnership Conclaves were organised by the CII with the support of the Ministry, the first in Dar-es-Salaam on 28 August 2008 and the second in New Delhi from 22-24 March 2009. FICCI also organised the India-Africa Business Partnership Summit in New Delhi on 19-20 January. All these events witnessed a high-level of participation from Indian and African businesses.
All these initiatives have significantly enhanced India’s engagement with countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and have come at a time of increasing private sector engagement in Africa. Two-way trade has increased from US $ 5.5. billion in 2001-02 to around US $ 36 billion in 2008-09 representing an almost seven-fold increase in as many years. Bilateral investment is approximately US $ 17 billion.
India opened resident Missions in Mali and Nigar. The Gamba, Gabon and Madagascar opened their Missions in New Delhi and Mali announced its intentions to open one soon.
The Government of India’s prestigious Pan-African e-Network Project was formally inaugurated on 26 February 2009 by the External Affairs Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi for eleven countries, out of the 35 countries that have signed the agreements to join the Project. 4 more African countries signed the agreement for joining the Government of India sponsored Pan-African e-Network project, taking the total to 39.
5th CII-EXIM Bank India-Africa Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership 2009 was held from 22-24 March 2009 at New Delhi. Nearly 500 delegates from Africa and more than 300 from India attended the Conclave. India-Africa two-way trade which was around US$36 billion in 2007-08 has already reached US$33 billion in the first nine months of 2008-09.
Number of training slots for African countries under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme was around 1500 and the scholarships for higher studies was around 500.
Dr. Boni Yayi, President of the Republic of Benin, made the first ever State visit to India from March 3 to 7, 2009. Five agreements were signed, including for establishment of an IT Training Centre, a Technology Demonstration Centre, and cooperation in small scale industry sector. Prime Minister announced a US$15 million Line of Credit and US $ 2 million grant to Benin.
Vice President Shri Mohammad Hamid Ansari visited South Africa during May 8-10, 2009 to attend the inauguration ceremony of Mr. Jacob Zuma, the 4th democratically elected President of South Africa.