Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 July 2021:
The Covid-19 pandemic has provided the impetus for a stronger partnership between India and Africa with potential benefits to both as they build back sustainably after the crisis, experts attending the 16th CII-Exim Bank Digital Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership affirmed.
Speaking at the virtual event’s opening, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India External Affairs Minister said the two sides must reinforce collaboration in public health, digital delivery, capacity building, and the green economy – “our goals must be to use these new tools and practices for better delivery on the ground.”
“India has always maintained that progress in the world is contingent on the development of the global south, nowhere is that more evident than in Africa, and that is why we adapt as the most priority to the India-Africa partnership,” Jaishankar said.
The three-day virtual conference, with the theme Harnessing the Africa-India Opportunity- Connect, Create, Collaborate, was organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the India Exim Bank with support from the Ministries of External Affairs and Commerce and Industry.
Sessions focused on healthcare including vaccine access and equity, and digitization of the information technology, tourism, and hospitality sectors.
Participants said India and Africa should boost efforts to improve access to medicines, including vaccines and other essential drugs to tackle Covid-19 and future pandemics. Other sectors where there is scope for investment and partnerships include clean energy and digital technology.
During a panel discussion, Solomon Quaynor, African Development Bank Group Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization, said an infrastructure-led recovery from the pandemic is critical for Africa; he added that the Bank is ready to partner with Indian firms to transform Africa’s healthcare.
“We are focused on health defense systems, in dialogue with our 81 African and non-African government shareholders, including India,” he said.
The African Development Bank will invest up to $3 billion over the next 30 years to advance the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and the development of healthcare infrastructure across Africa, Quaynor said. The Bank has also been providing expertise to its members on preparing public-private partnerships and to deepen debt capital markets including through investment in pension funds and providing sovereign credit and partial risk guarantees.
“The pandemic has widened Africa’s financing gap to $345 billion and innovative solutions are needed,” Quaynor said. “Africa needs financing to promote the private sector, create jobs, provide social protection for vulnerable groups, and drive inclusive growth.”
Noel Tata, Chair of the CII Africa Committee and Managing Director of Tata International Limited, a conglomerate, called on African leaders to implement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to spur the development of textile, pharmaceutical, automotive, agro-processing, and information and communication technology supply chains. The AfCFTA, a pan-African economic bloc with a combined GDP of $3.4 trillion, came into force on January 1, 2021.
“We must continue to focus and identify new cross-border partnership opportunities that are future-proof and directed at the welfare of the 2.5 billion people in India and Africa. AfCFTA will have a positive cascading impact on our bilateral relations and industrial economic partnerships,” Tata said.
One opportunity for Indian investment is special agro-industrial zones (SAPZ), an initiative the Bank is supporting to concentrate agro-processing within areas of high farming potential to boost productivity and competitiveness.
The Asia External Representation Office of the Bank has been supporting and participating in the India-Africa conclave since 2014. India joined the African Development Fund, the concessional financing arm of the Bank Group, in 1982; a year later it became a member of the African Development Bank.
India-Africa Project Partnership (https://bit.ly/3rgmnDG)
The Sierra Leone parliament debates bill to abolish the death penalty. I’ve been a strong advocate against capital punishment, i.e State Murder for many reasons. It is necessary to reflect on the 1971, 1975 and 1998 executions to comprehend the carnage, chaos, savagery and terrorism that characterised Sierra Leone from 1971 to 1999 with sixty one executions.
Indeed this is Great news for Africa – If it was left entirely in my hands to devise strategies for navigating the affairs and destines of poor African countries towards robust economic prosperity and sustainability,India without any doubts in my mind would become a pivotal and trusted partner of mine in achieving that goal. There are countless reasons that make India best suited for the role of transforming Africa a continent with vast resources into a Colossal Economic Powerhouse; Firstly, India is known worldwide as nation of compassion, that respects and upholds religious, social and traditional values. In this regard our Africa and India are alike,they are just like twins.
They are two sides of the same coin;scents,fragrances and sweet smells of two ancient civilizations that just keep on intoxicating and inspiring our poor struggling lives. India has the expertise; They have been gallantly managing the affairs of over a billion people – Yup,they know how to squeeze water diligently out of stones to make ends meet – They are creative,intelligent and diligent. Pharmaceutical and Technological Giants – Africa needs to cling on to them and refuse to let go like a fragile suckling infant on her mothers breasts.
Folks, push has come to Shove,the change we have long been waiting for can be now become possible with the help of our friends,an empathetic,open-minded and sincere nation like India.Folks,the bright colors of the Indian flag and those of African nations shackled in abject poverty should become a symbol of transformation and hope for all of mankind. Africa, Quit going to the loan sharks for handouts – Embrace India and put in the hard work and all will be well – things will turn out just fine….Guaranteed!