Africa-India relations: Arun Jaitley praises growth in trade at AFDB meet, pushes for solar power cooperation

Gandhinagar: Finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday that the India-Africa partnership could provide limitless opportunities for the future and that the two sides were engaging on a scale not witnessed earlier.

"If India is a bright spot, then Africa is not very far away. India-Africa partnership provides limitless opportunities. India and Africa together can shape the future of the world," Jaitley said here at the opening session of the five-day annual meetings of the African Development Bank (AFDB) Group.

 Africa-India relations: Arun Jaitley praises growth in trade at AFDB meet, pushes for solar power cooperation

File image of 2015 India- Africa summit.

"The partnership model is an unique cornerstone in voluntary partnership without any imposition," he added.

The theme of the opening session was "Africa-India Cooperation on Enhancing the High-Five Strategy".

AFDB has adopted a strategy called "High 5s", which focuses ocoon five major developmental priorities comprising agriculture, energy, industrialisation, regional connectivity and improved quality of life through access to social and economic opportunities.

Jaitley said the "High 5s" agenda of AFDB was not different from Indian policy.

The 52nd annual meetings of the AFDB Group that started on Monday will come to an end on 26 May. This is the first time the AFDB is holding its annual meetings outside the African continent.

The five-day meeting will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 23 May.

The annual meetings are the largest event of the bank, which would witness the gathering of about 3,000 delegates from 81 member countries from across the world at the Mahatma Mandir convention centre in Gujarat.

During the meetings, India is also eyeing cooperation with the Africa nations on the International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiative, of which France and India are the co-chairs.

India will be organising an Africa-India Cooperation Event on the sidelines of the main event.

The sessions would primarily focus on agriculture, healthcare, e-governance, renewable energy, skill development and education, trade and investment and manufacturing.

Heads of states of Benin and Rwanda, vice presidents from Comoros and Cote d'Ivoire and AFDB President Akinwumi Adesina are expected to address the sessions.

The government is also planning an exhibition to showcase the capabilities of Indian companies in terms of technology, innovation and startups which could be relevant to African countries.

The trade between India and African countries has increased five-fold between 2005 and 2016 and stood at $52 billion at the end of fiscal 2016-17.

India's exports to Africa increased from $14 billion in 2007-08 to $23 billion in 2016-17, at a compound annual growth rate of 5.6 percent.

Indian imports from African states increased from $20 billion in 2007-08 to $28 billion in 2016-17, accounting for 7.5 percent of total Indian imports.

During the India-Africa Forum Summit 2015, the announcement of $10 billion Line of Credit marked a new beginning in India's approach to engaging with African countries in a more constructive manner.

India joined the African Development Fund in 1982 and the AfDB in 1983, initiating a long history of cooperation spanning over 30 years.

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Updated Date: May 22, 2017 17:25:14 IST