India is the fourth largest partner of Africa, recording $69.7bn in trade between 2018 and 2019, and is the fifth largest investor in the continent with cumulative investments valued at $70.7bn in sectors like oil and gas, mining, banking, pharmaceuticals, textiles, automotives, and agriculture, according to India’s Ambassador to Cairo Ajit Gupte.
Gupte’s remarks came on the side-lines of the African heads of missions in New Delhi and Indian Ministry of External Affairs’ joint celebration for Africa Day on 27 May.
The event was attended by a large number of African heads of missions, members of the diplomatic corps in New Delhi, think tanks, and senior officials from the Indian government.
Africa Day is the annual commemoration of the founding of the ‘Organisation of African Unity’ in 1963 — the processor of the African Union — and provides an opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the diverse heritage and economic potential of the continent.
The ambassador explained that India’s traditional and historic partnership with Africa has been recently bolstered by intensifying political engagements and expansion of India’s diplomatic footprints by opening 18 new diplomatic missions in Africa.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘10 Guiding Principles’ of India’s engagement with Africa have been serving as an instrument in India’s multi- dimensional relationship with Africa in the changing world. India’s concessional loans, grants, and capacity building programmes have played a significant role in Africa’s socio-economic development.
Gupte added that so far, lines of credit (LoCs) worth $12.26bn have been extended to African countries. Under these LoCs, 193 projects have been completed, 66 projects are currently under implementation, and 88 are in the pre-execution stage in various sectors such as drinking water, agricultural mechanisation and irrigation, solar electrification, power plants, textiles, technology parks, and railway infrastructure.
More than 32,000 African youths have utilised scholarships offered under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) and other scholarship programmes.
Furthermore, India has established seven IT Centres in Egypt, Ghana, Lesotho, Morocco, Namibia, South Africa, and Tanzania to promote digital literacy among African youths.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian government gifted 150 tonnes of medical aid to more than 25 African countries. Under the Government of India’s ‘Vaccine Maitri Initiative’, India has supplied 37.59m (1.05m doses under grant, 10.2m doses through commercial means, and 26.38m under GAVI’s COVAX Initiative) to 42 African countries,” he added.