India-Africa summit will launch new era of partnership: Modi

New Delhi, Oct 24 (IANS) The third India-Africa Forum Summit, which will see the participation of all African nations for the first time, will launch a new era of mutual partnership, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In an interview with African journalists at the editors forum of the third India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) here on Friday, Modi said India’s areas of focus will continue to be human resource development, institution building, infrastructure, clean energy, agriculture, health, education and skill development.

He said “the summit would set substantially higher targets for our development partnership”.

Noting that India’s primary aim is to support its African partners in their efforts to accelerate the momentum of their development, Modi said the summit will also address key challenges of present times including food, health and environmental security.

“We will create conditions that stimulate trade and investment flows between our countries. We will work together to address the problems of climate change. We will explore new areas like a sustainable blue economy. We hope to learn a great deal from numerous African success stories,” the prime minister said.

“We will also reinforce our partnership on the global platform and deepen our security cooperation, including on maritime security, countering terrorism,” he said.

Modi said relation between India and African countries were not just political and economic but had a very rich cultural tradition.

The prime minister said that his government had taken initiative to invite all 54 countries of Africa for the forthcoming India-Africa summit and this “partnership with all” will bring new freshness in mutual relations.

Modi said this is the first summit where all the 54 countries of Africa have been invited and all of them are participating.

“Till now as per the information that we have received, 40 countries will be represented at the head of state, head of government level, and the rest are being represented by senior ministers,” he said, adding the summit was attracting the attention of the entire world.

He said there were many similarities between India and Africa and together India and Africa we represent one third of the world’s population. “Africa represents the youngest region in the world and India too is the youngest country.”

He said that the bilateral trade between India and Africa has has grown by eight to nine times in the past few years. He said India has given concessional credit to the tune of $7.4 billion.

“In more than 40 countries today there are more than 100 projects which are under implementation.”Noting that India has invested $1.2 billion in more than 100 institutes, Modi said, adding: “The point which makes me the most happy is that there is this partnership between India and Africa that is human resource development, the capacity building.”

He said Africa’s development in recent years has been impressive and noted that around 95 percent of Africa was on mobile telephone now.

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