Sushma meets eight African counterparts

New Delhi, Oct 27 (IANS) Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday held bilateral meetings held with her counterparts from eight African countries on the sidelines of the ongoing Third India-Africa Forum Summit (IFAS).

She met her counterparts from the western African nations of Cameroon, Ghana and the island nation of Cape Verde, of the north African nation of Tunisia, the southern nations of Zimbabwe and South Africa, and the central African nations of Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan. Foreign ministers of India and the African countries held a ministerial meeting on Tuesday as part of the 2015 IAFS.

Briefing reporters here, Sanjiv Kohli, joint secretary, West Africa, in the external affairs ministry, said South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane sought more scholarships and technical assistance from India.

He said Sushma Swaraj also had bilateral meetings with Zimbabwe’s S.S. Mumbengegwi, Malawi’s George Chaponda, Cape Verde’s Jorge Homero Tolentino Araujo and Congo’s Raymond Tshibanda N’tungamulongo.

She also met her Ghanian counterpart Hanna S. Tetteh, South Sudan’s Barnaba Marial Benjamin and Tunisia’s Taieb Baccouche.

“South Africa requested for more scholarships and Indian technical assistance. We have agreed to it positively and do as much as we can,” Kohli said.

He said the Zimbabwean minister referred to agriculture and education as areas of priority and “we responded positively to that”, while the Malawian minister requested more scholarships and technical assistance in leather sector.

Referring to meeting with Cape Verde’s foreign minister, he said India had sought details of social sector projects where cooperation can be extended.

Kohli said Ghana was a priority country and “we will look to strengthen our relations”.

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