Changing Africa: Health, Economy and Political, India's Relations With African Union and India-Africa Forum Summit

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Changing Africa

There have been breakthroughs in many areas

Health

  • Remarkable decline in the incidence of AIDS and malaria

  • Tangible reduction in poverty

  • A substantial increase in longevity

  • A rise in primary school enrolment from 58 per cent in 2000 to 74 percent in 2008

  • However, Famine in Somalia

Economy

  • Provision of fertiliser and new varieties of seeds by governments to poor farmers in countries like Malawi has increased agricultural yields

  • Surpluses in tropical crops are finding markets abroad

    • Accd to an IMF report, sub-Saharan Africa grew at more than 5 per cent during the period 2000-2009

Political

  • 2010 was exception in the number of elections held.

    • Burundi, Guinea, Ethiopia, and semi-autonomous region of Somalia had elections early in the year

    • Tanzania and Chad followed

    • Referendum in Kenya was a successful democratic exercise giving that country a new constitution, which is helping to resolve ethnic tensions

  • Independence given to South Sudan

  • North Africa revolutions

  • However, challenges exist

    • Transition for dictatorship to democracy in North Africa

    • Election in Ivory Coast

India’S Relations with African Union

Background

  • The African Union is an international organisation consisting of 53 African member states (excluding Morocco but including Saharwi ADR). It was founded in Durban on July 10, 2002, replacing the Organization of African Unity( OAU).

  • In 1999, the Heads of State / Government of the OAU issued the Sirte Declaration calling for establishing an African Union to accelerate the process of integration in the African Continent. The Lome Summit of 2000 adopted the Constitutive Act and the Lusaka Summit of 2001 drew the roadmap for implementation of the African Union. Its headquarters is located in Addis Ababa. The birth of the AU is a legacy of the Pan-African movement towards creating institutions to achieve the objectives of peace, political stability, democracy, economic integration, and good governance. The Regional Economic Communities like Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Southern African Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC), Arab Maghreb Union (AMU/UMA), The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) are contributing to the progress of integration.

Summits

  • Since the inception of the African Union, India has been regularly participating in its various Summits. India participated in the AU Summit in Durban in July 2002 and in Maputo (Mozambique) in July 2003.

  • The 10th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union took place in Addis Ababa Jan 31-Feb 02, 2008 whose theme was “Industrial Development of Africa”. The Indian Delegation was led by Shri Anand Sharma, MOS for External Affairs. In his Address to the Executive Council on January 29, 2008 he announced the India Africa Forum Summit to be held at New Delhi from April 4-9, 2008.

India-Africa Forum Summit

  • The first ever India-Africa Forum Summit, attended by the countries representing AU and the Regional Economic Communities of Africa, was held in New Delhi on 8-9 April 2008. Leaders of 14 African counties and the African Union Commission participated. It represented a turning point in the India- AU relations.

  • The Summit adopted the Delhi Declaration and the Africa-India Framework for Cooperation, which constitute the blueprint for cooperation between India and Africa in the 21st century. Under this new framework, relationships will be further developed in the areas of trade, economy, agriculture, education, science, technology, water management and human resource development. Constructive discussions were also held on the issues of food and energy security, UN reforms and climate change. It was also agreed that the next IAFS would be held in Africa in 2011. In the 16th Ordinary Summit of the African Union in January 2011, it was decided that the 2nd India-African Summit would be conveyed at Addis Ababa from May 23-27, 2011.

  • India announced unilateral duty free and preferential market access for exports from all Least Developed Countries, 34 of which are in Africa. The scheme will cover 94% of India’s total tariff lines. Specifically, it will provide preferential market access on tariff lines that comprise 92.55 of global exports of all Least Developed Countries. Products of immediate interest to Africa include cotton, cocoa, aluminium ores, copper ores, cashew nuts, cane sugar, ready-made garments, fish fillets and non-industrial diamonds. India would double its quantum of credit to USD 5.4 billion from the present USD 2.15 billion over next five years.

  • In order to enhance opportunities for African Students to pursue higher studies in India, the Government of India has doubled long-term scholarships for undergraduates, postgraduates and higher courses and increased the number of training slots under our technical assistance programmes from 1100 to 1600 every year. The Prime Minster of India proposed that India and Africa work towards the establishment of an India-Africa Volunteer Corps which would be devoted to development work. The Volunteer Corps can, on a pilot basis, identify projects in the areas of public health, informal education, and women’s empowerment and as we gather more experience, the scope of activities can be progressively widened. Prime Minister also proposed to enhance Indian aid to Africa by expanded concessional lines of credit and undertaking projects against grants in excess of USD 500 million over the next five to six years, focusing on human resource development and capacity building. India will strengthen local capabilities by creating regional and pan – African institutions of higher education, especially in pure sciences, information technology and vocational education. India will also make investments in research and development in renewable forms of energy and agricultural development, through these institutions.

  • Several outreach events took place before or concurrent with the Summit. These were(i) the first ever India-Africa Editors Conference;(ii) joint performances by Indian and African cultural troupes; (iii) a seminar of intellectuals from Africa and India on India-Africa Partnership on the 21st century(vi) a programme for youth and women from Africa; and (v) a business conclave.

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