India to set up 19 training institutes in Africa

December 10th, 2010 - 3:53 pm ICT by IANS  

By Manish Chand
New Delhi, Dec 10 (IANS) A foreign trade institute in Uganda and a diamond centre in Botswana are amongst the 19 training institutes that India will set up across Africa in the next two years.

The two sides have finalised the location of the institutes ahead of India’s second continent-level summit with Africa next year.

They are part of the commitment that followed the first India-Africa Forum Summit in 2008. The training institutes, envisaged in the 2008 Delhi Declaration, were unveiled in the joint action plan India and the African Union (AU) launched in March this year.

But it was only last week that the AU conveyed to the Indian side the final list of locations where these training institutes, Gurjit Singh, joint secretary in charge of East and South Africa in the external affairs ministry, told IANS.

“The implementing agencies have already started working on these institutes. We hope to set up most of them over the next two years,” said Singh, a former Indian envoy to Ethiopia.

The India Africa Institute of Foreign Trade (IAIFT) in Uganda, the India-Africa Institute of Information Technology (IAIIT) in Ghana, the India Africa Diamond Institute in Botswana and the India-Africa Institute of Education, Planning and Administration (IAIEPA) in Burundi will be some of the flagship projects that will underline New Delhi’s focus on capacity building and human resource development in its Africa policy.

The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), the Educational Consultants India Ltd (EdCIL) and the Indian Diamond Institute, Surat are amongst the implementing agencies.

Besides, India’s National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) will help set up vocational training centres in Egypt, Libya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Burundi and Gabon, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

India’s ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation, along with Building Materials & Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC), will be setting up the Human Settlement Institutes in Kenya, Togo, Mauritania, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In March this year, India and the 53-nation AU, the pan-African body headquartered in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, launched an action plan that outlined a detailed strategy for accelerating bilateral engagement across sectors for the next four years.

The plan details the development-centric partnership between India and Africa, which will be the focus of the next bilateral summit that will be held in one of the African countries. Various African countries are vying to host the summit, but no decision has been taken, informed sources said.

Jean-Pierre Ezin, commissioner of the African Union Commission for Human Resource and Science and Technology, told IANS that India and can transform the African continent through education.

Unlike China’s foray in Africa that has focused on extractive resources, oil and mammoth infrastructure projects, India has chosen to focus on capacity building as the defining template of its engagement with Africa.

The India-aided Pan-Africa e-network, that seeks to bring tele-education and tele-medicine to the African people, is widely cited as a sign of India’s empowering engagement with the continent and was awarded recently a top European award for innovation.

India’s bilateral trade with Africa is estimated to be around $40 billion, with top Indian companies ramping up their investment in diverse sectors in Africa.

(Manish Chand can be contacted at manish.c@ians.in)

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