The vision document for the proposed “Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC)” supported by Japan and India has been unveiled today during the 52nd Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB) here. The vision document has been prepared jointly by three agencies, namely the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) New Delhi, the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia(ERIA) Jakarta, and Institute of Developing Economies (IDE-JETRO), Tokya.
The vision document was presented during a seminar on ‘Japan-India cooperation for the development of Africa’ at Mahatma Mandir in the presence of Union Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal. Yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was here to inaugurate the annual meetings of the AfDB, pushed for AAGC, a pitch coming days after China’s ambitious OBOR (One Belt, One Road) initiative taking off. The pitch came close on the heels of China launching its multi-billion dollar OBOR initiative, a pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping, which aims to connect the Eurasian landmass and Indo-Pacific maritime routes.
Modi had informed the audience that research institutes of India and Japan have come up with vision document in consultation with African think-tanks on how to take forward this growth corridor. As per the vision document, AAGC will be based on four key pillars – Enhancing Capacity and Skills, Quality Infrastructure and Institutional Connectivity, Development and Cooperation projects and people to people partnership. Giving insight into the document, Director General of RIS, Sachin Chaturvedi, said unlike China’s OBOR initiative, AAGC was more consultative.
“You are aware about our government’s position on OBOR. I would like to highlight the way we are making this process more consultative. This was one of the objection India raised when OBOR was presented with least consultations,” Chaturvedi told reporters. He said more details will emerge about the AAGC during the upcoming visit of Japanese Prime Minister to India in September this year. As per the document, the next step is the preparation of a ‘vision study’ for the project, for which a Research Support Unit will be set up in RIS. “The unit will conduct the preparation of AAGC study between 2017-18, and present it to the Government of India and Japan, and other leaders and policy makers of Asia and Africa in 2018,” said the document.