India vows to help turn Africa into emerging growth pole

October 12th, 2011 - 11:25 am ICT by IANS  

United Nations, Oct 12 (IANS) India has pledged its fullest cooperation to translate its vision of the 21st century seeing a great and dynamic role for Africa as an emerging growth pole of the world into reality.

“We will take our partnership from pillar to pillar founded on mutual solidarity and kinship to harness the great potential of the more than 2.1 billion Indians and Africans,” Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur said during a debate on sustainable development in Africa in the UN General Assembly Tuesday.

Recalling the “immortal words” of India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, describing Africa as “our sister continent”, she said India’s links with Africa are civilisational.

India together with its African partners had transformed their age old and special engagement into an enduring and multi-dimensional relationship, Kaur said noting at the second India-Africa Forum Summit in May, India announced fresh lines of credit worth $5 billion over the next three years for Africa.

India has also decided to support the development of a new Ethio-Djibouti Railway line at $300 million and was discussing with the African Union the augmentation of capacities for the development of regional structure in railways, she said.

Building on the success of the Pan African E-network project that shares with all African countries our expertise in the fields of healthcare and education through satellite, fibre optics and wireless links, India was looking at setting up an India-Africa Virtual University, Kaur said.

With a view to encouraging trade and investment flows, there is also a proposal to establish an India-Africa Business Council, she said noting India’s private sector has played an increasingly important part in recent years in supporting trade and investment flows.

“India’s own cooperation agenda with Africa includes capacity building programmes for medical and health specialists to tackle pandemics like malaria, filarial polio, HIV and TB,” she said. “We are willing to do more.”

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