Addis Ababa, May 24 (WIC) – Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India announced that his government would support the development of a new Ethio-Djibouti Railway line to the tune of 300 million dollars.
At the inaugural ceremony of the Second Africa India Forum Summit, Prime Minister Singh said India would also offer 5 billion USD for the next three years under lines of credit to help achieve the development goals of Africa.
“Under the lines of credit that we offered at the first Summit, we had specifically looked at promoting regional integration through infrastructure development,” Singh said in his address to Heads of States and representatives of 15 African countries. “On the advice of the African Union, I am happy to announce that we would support the development of a new Ethio-Djibouti Railway line to the tune of 300 million USD for this important regional project”.
The Prime Minister also said that India will offer an additional 700 million USD to establish new institutions and training programmes in consultation with the African Union and its institutions.
“Africa possesses all the prerequisites to become a major growth pole of the world in the 21st century,” Singh said. “We will work with Africa to enable it to realize this potential”.
The Prime Minister proposed to establish an India-Africa Food Processing Cluster, Integrated Textiles Cluster, Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting Cluster and an India-Africa Institute of Agriculture and Rural Development.
He also proposed the establishment of an India-Africa Virtual University, which will provide 10,000 new scholarships for African students.
“This, we hope, will help to meet some of the demand in Africa for higher studies in Indian Institutions,” Singh said adding that the current 500 African scholarships per annum would be increased to 900, taking the total commitment for the next three years to more than 22,000.
In support of maintaining peace and security in Africa, Prime Minister Singh said that India would contribute two million USD for the African Union Mission in Somalia.
The Second Africa-India Forum Summit is expected to adopt a Joint Declaration of the Africa – India Partnership (Addis Ababa Declaration) to contain the political commitments of the two sides, as well as an Africa – India Framework for Cooperation when it culminates tomorrow.
Representatives of 15 African countries including Algeria, Burundi, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Namibia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Swaziland are taking part in the summit.
On the Ethiopian side Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and his Deputy Hailemariam Desalegn, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs, attended the Summit.
Singh, who co-chaired the Summit with Chairperson of the African Union and President of Equatorial Guinea, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, is also expected to hold bilateral visits to Ethiopia and Tanzania.