According to reports, India is eyeing cooperation with African nations on the International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiative and looking forward to deepen economic cooperation during the upcoming annual meetings of African Development Bank (AfDB) Group here from May 22.
For the first time, India would be hosting the annual meetings of the bank here from May 22-26. The annual meet will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 23. “India would seek to leverage this occasion to further deepen her economic cooperation with the African countries. India is also looking forward to cooperation with Africa on the International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiative,” the Finance Ministry said here in a statement on Thursday.
The ISA initiative was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015. The ISA is conceived as a coalition of solar resource-rich countries to address their special energy needs. “The annual meetings of the bank this year would be another opportunity to discuss the issues facing the regional member countries, while India would seek to leverage this occasion to further deepen our economic cooperation with the African countries,” the statement said. The core theme of the event is “Transforming Agriculture for wealth creation in Africa”, which has tremendous scope for cooperation between India and Africa.
The annual meetings are the largest event of the bank, which would witness about 3,000 delegates from 81 member-countries from across the world gathering at the Mahatma Mandir convention centre here in Gujarat. AfDB has adopted a strategy called ‘High 5s’, which focuses on five major developmental priorities comprising agriculture, energy, industrialisation, regional connectivity and improved quality of life through access to social and economic opportunities. During the course of the event, the Board of Governors of the bank will meet to dwell upon the major developmental challenges facing the African countries and the ways to achieve an inclusive and sustainable growth. India will be organising an Africa India Cooperation Event on the sidelines of the main event.
The sessions would primarily focus on agriculture, healthcare, e-governance, renewable energy, skill development and education, trade and investment and manufacturing. The government is also planning an exhibition to showcase the capabilities of Indian companies in terms of technology, innovation, and start-ups, which could be relevant to African countries. The theme of the exhibition is centred on the priority areas of the bank. During India Africa Forum Summit 2015, the announcement of $10 billion line of credit by Modi marked a new beginning in India’s approach to engage with African countries in a more constructive manner.
India’s support through lines of credit has not only helped finance the projects in African countries, but has also contributed to capacity building, IT education, and higher education. India joined the African Development Fund (ADF) in 1982 and the African Development Bank (AfDB) in 1983, initiating a long history of cooperation spanning over 30 years. India’s collaboration with the bank group is built around three main pillars — contributions to the General Capital Increase (GCI), contributions to African Development Fund replenishment and a bilateral trust fund and providing resources to support highly indebted poor countries and the multilateral debt reduction initiative.