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Statement by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the BRICS-Africa Dialogue Forum Durban, South Africa, March 27, 2013

Your Excellencies,
I am pleased to have this opportunity for a dialogue on how BRICS, and in particular India, could contribute to and benefit from the tremendous transformation that has made Africa the continent of hope today.
India’s relations with Africa are rooted in the history of our solidarity against colonialism and apartheid. Mahatma Gandhi developed the tools of peaceful resistance on this very soil. Our engagement with Africa has come a long way since then and today we have built a new template for partnership in the form of the India-Africa Forum Summit.This partnership is guided by the vision and priorities of our African partners. India will assist Africa in charting its own course through institution-building, infrastructure development and technical and vocational skill development.

The pan-Africa e-Network for tele-medicine and tele-education, which is functional in 47 countries in Africa, is a major success story of our institution-building partnership with Africa. We are ready to work with our African partners on e-governance to help bridge the digital divide in Africa. India is also happy to share its experiences of participative political institutions, local governance, media and civil society with Africa.
Human resource development and capacity-building assistance are at the core of India’s cooperation with Africa, because they enable and empower people to take charge of their own future. Over 15,000 African students are studying in India. Agricultural and scientific fellowships specially designed for African scholars are highly popular. Our assistance with vocational and entrepreneurial skill development, with particular emphasis on small and medium enterprises, is helping promote employability and job creation in Africa.
Our concessional assistance is directed towards development of agriculture, infrastructure and industry. We are reviewing the terms and conditions of our lines of credit so that they meet the budgetary requirements of our partners, are in line with their own development priorities, utilize local resources and skills, and create sustainable revenue-generating assets. On the trade front, our non-reciprocal Duty Free Tariff Preference Scheme Scheme for LDCs has significantly enhanced the access of African LDCs to the growing Indian market.

India’s enterprising private sector is one of the key drivers of the India-Africa partnership. The Confederation of Indian Industries and the EXIM Bank of India last week organized the 9th Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership, which generated interest in 500 projects worth 70 billion US dollars.

Sustainable economic development requires an environment of social and political stability. India actively supports African initiatives for peace and security in the continent. More than 6,500 Indian soldiers support UN Peacekeeping Operations in various parts of Africa. A large Indian contingent is helping the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo carry out its mandate. We have also made financial contributions to the African Union Mission in Somalia and the African-led International Support Mission to Mali. We strongly support the restoration of Mali’s territorial integrity as well as constitutional order in that country.
Let me conclude by reiterating India’s resolve to assist Africa with the entire spectrum of our expertise and capacity. The BRICS forum offers another avenue for our cooperation. Initiatives such as the BRICS bank could further leverage the collective capacity of the BRICS countries to assist the transformation of Africa. This is an objective that India remains committed to.

Thank you.

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