Wednesday, May 18, 2011

PM heads to Africa with bag of goodies - Hindustan Times

To avoid comparisons with what China does in Africa, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be unveiling bonanza of a different kind when he co-chairs the Africa-India forum summit in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, on May 24 and 25. Four regional centres of excellence, 15 vocational training cent
res in African countries, two coal institutes in Mozambique, skill training for 20,000 people in different disciplines in next five years are the measures to be put in place as New Delhi pushes ahead with the capacity building agenda for the African continent.

Singh is also likely to announce an additional Line of Credit in the range of $500 million for African nations. This is in addition to the $5.4 billion India has already committed. New Delhi shies away from comparisons with its biggest neighbour China, which has made rapid strides in Africa.

India intends to send out the message that it believes in long-term partnership and "capacity building" and its plans for Africa are not dictated by the benefits it can get from the resource-rich continent.

The four centres of excellence will be in Uganda (East Africa), Ghana (West), Botswana (south), and Burundi (north). Each one of them will be focusing on different subject. For example, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade will be pitching in for Uganda.

These centres will focus on subjects such as foreign trade, information technology, Indian Diamond Institute will be behind the centre in Botswana. The two coal institutes will be based in Mozambique. "These institutes will impart training in mining and other aspects", said a government official. The programmes aim at training 20,000 people in next five years, that's 5,000 people a year.

Prime Minister will be in Ethiopia from May 23 to 26 for the summit then will pay a bilateral visit to Tanzania before returning to the country on May 28. Prior to the summit, external affairs minister SM Krishna will attend will attend the foreign ministers' meeting to be held on on May 23.

President of Equatorial Guinea Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the chairperson of the African Union, will co-Chair the summit along with PM.

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