Conference on ‘India's Foreign Policy towards African Continent in the 21st Century: Prospects for Cooperation’
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Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) organised a conference on ‘India's Foreign Policy towards African Continent in the 21st Century: Prospects for Cooperation’ on 20th November, 2019. The delegation consisted of ten Ambassadors and High Commissioners from different African nations, several scholars and experts, former diplomats, and military officers. The conference was divided under three themes: i) Strengthening India-Africa Foreign Policy: Need for Cooperation; ii) Factoring Diaspora in India–Africa Relations: Enhancing Economic and Development Cooperation; and iii) India – Africa on Maritime Security: Prospects and Challenges. During the conference few important areas were identified for enhancing cooperation in order to maintain and step up engagement with Africa. Following were the recommendations made:-

  • The African participants stressed upon the importance for India to implement the pan-African projects and giving work permits to Africans. Emphasis were also laid on addressing trade imbalance by investing more in Africa than relying on the Lines of Credit.
  • Political engagements with all the African countries have been made during the last five years. Now, it is time for the businesses and industries to fill the gap because it is not difficult to do business in Africa, if one is persistent and consistent. There is also a need to remove trade barriers by African governments in the interest of trade and investment.
  • Partnering with African countries to build hospitals in Africa, than to bring the African patients to India. Also, there is a need to have larger presence of Indian PSU banks in the continent with development of knowledge partners from Africa.
  • Cooperation in capacity building, skill development, infrastructure development, education, Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) and vocational training is promising as Africa desire to emulate Indian’s model of development in the social sectors.
  • Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) presents great opportunity for India to channel its technological expertise and the region has the capacity to absorb India’s modernized equipment.
  • Agriculture could be a major area of cooperation. From the Indian side there were recommendation on deepening cooperation in agriculture, maritime and defence field by conducting regular dialogues between the two sides. Moreover, it was also decided to set up a maritime dialogue with eleven African nations from the east coast of the continent with support from India.
  • Connectivity between India and African countries has improved considerably. But a lot more has to be done. There is also a need to have open market access with specific focus on energy security.
  • Diaspora connect is strong in Africa, hence a strong bridge between Indian media and Africa plays a significant role in strengthening our foreign policy towards Africa.
  • The third India Africa Forum Summit was a great success and it marked a new beginning in our approach to engage with African countries in a more constructive manner. The fourth India-Africa Forum Summit is likely to be held next year and participants recommended new idea for cooperation.
Event Date 
November 20, 2019

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