Making a pitch for stronger ties with African countries, Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley today said India does not believe in imposing partnerships on other nations and leaves it on partners to take a call on alliance. Jaitley compared India’s investment in African nations with China and added that India is amongst the most important emerging investors in Africa today. Speaking at the opening session of the 52nd African Development Bank Group (AfDB) Annual Meetings, here, Jaitley exuded confidence that India-Africa together can shape the future of the world.
“India-Africa cooperation is not an one-off event. This has been central to our strategical policy, and over the last several years, the present government (at the Centre) has provided a fresh impetus to this efforts,” said Jaitley at the session themed “Africa India Cooperation”. “Our partnership model is unique. Being an emerging economy itself, we understand that a prescriptive model of partnership does not work. Therefore, the cornerstone of our policy is voluntary partnership,” he said. “It is demand driven and devoid of any conditionality. We do not impose, and leave it on our partners to decide what is best for them. We believe that this is the most effective way to build partnership,” said Jaitley.
“India’s share of announced investments in the greenfield projects in Africa grew from 3.3 per cent during 2003-08 to 6.1 per cent in 2009-15. During the same time, China’s share shrunk from 4.9 per cent to 3.3 per cent,” said the minister. “In 2014, BRICS nations, including India and other emerging economies accounted for nearly one half of Africa’s total exports to the world. In 2015, Africa was second fastest growing region in the world after Asia. I believe that India and Africa together can shape the future of the world,” he added.
The session was attended by several dignitaries, including Economic Affairs Secretary Shashikanta Das and President of African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, mong others. Talking to reporters ahead of the session, Adesina admitted that African nations are experiencing slow down at present due to falling commodity prices. “African economy was growing at 5 per cent in the last decade. But, due to the decline in commodity prices, growth has slowed down. Last year, African economy grew at 2.2 per cent. Our projections suggests that it will grow at 3.4 per cent this year,” said Adesina.
He also said African nations are looking forward for stronger ties with India to become self sufficient in terms of food production. “We want to make agriculture a sustainable business. Thanks to political will, India became self sufficient in food production in just 3 years. Thus, we draw inspiration from India and adopt Indian practises,” he added.