Marry India’s expertise with Africa’s resources: Ghana presidentApril 7th, 2008 - 2:24 pm ICT by admin
By Manish Chand
New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) If India’s experience and expertise is married to Africa’s vast natural resources, it will lead to accelerated development of the continent, says Ghana President John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor, here to attend the first India-Africa summit that begins Tuesday. “It is our hope that the India-Africa Forum Summit will result in the creation of a framework and a plan of action to further enhance the mutually beneficial cooperation between India and Africa,” said Kufuor.
“If India’s experience and expertise is married to Africa’s vast natural resources, this will result in an accelerated development of Africa and assist African countries to develop their production base of non-traditional exports as well as add value to their traditional exports,” Kufuor told IANS in an exclusive interview.
The Oxford-educated Kufuor, known fondly as Ghana’s Gentle Giant due to his imposing stature (he is 6 feet, 4 inches tall), epitomised a new generation of reform-minded African leaders who are leading the process of the continent’s integration into global economy.
Echoing a popular view among African leaders about India’s growing stature as a knowledge power, the Ghanaian president said: “The technology which India has is most suitable for African countries.”
Wary of expensive Western technologies that need to be modified to suit African conditions, for African countries India has emerged as a favourite destination for its low-cost high value technologies aimed at value-addition of natural resources in the continent.
Kufuor identified an array of sectors like textile/garment industry, agriculture and food processing, information and communication technology (ICT), the gem and jewellery industry, small and medium industry and infrastructure as areas in which Indian technologies can make a world of difference.
Kufuor, who has been president of the mineral-rich West African country since 2001, also underlined the importance of cooperation between India and Africa for evolving a common position for an expansion of the UN Security Council.
“Any cooperation with India for the achievement of the goal of an expanded UN Security Council would have to be on the basis of the common African position as enshrined in the Ezulwini Consensus,” he said.
The Ezulwini consensus, which proposes two permanent and five non-permanent seats for Africa in a reformed UN Security Council, emerged from discussions its seventh extraordinary session of the executive council of the African Union in March 2005.
The 53-nation African Union is crucial to the success of any plan to expand the UN Security Council. India is trying to reach an understanding with African leaders on presenting a common plan, along with other G4 countries including Japan, Germany and Brazil, for an expansion of the UN council.
As India steps up its diplomatic and economic presence in West Africa, the Ghana president lauded New Delhi’s Team-9 initiative that aims at acceleration of economic and strategic ties with eight West African countries.
“It will lead to stronger relations between the private sectors of India and the region and impact positively on the process of integration in the West African sub-region,” he said.
“India has a strategic relationship with West African countries that cover a wide range of areas such as security, infrastructure, trade, education, science and technology, power generation, ICT, agriculture and small and medium enterprises,” he said.
“Globalisation can provide immense opportunities for African countries to accelerate their development processes as well as spur integration of African countries in the global economy,” he said.
Ten heads of state and government are among the leaders of 14 African countries who will attend the first-ever India-Africa summit Tuesday that seeks to counter China’s growing influence in the resource-rich continent and forge a more contemporary partnership in key areas like trade, energy, and cooperation on global issues like the UN reforms, terrorism and climate change.
(Manish Chand can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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