Funds pledged for India-Africa links

 Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi

INDIAN Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned on the charm for African leaders yesterday, promising $10-billion (R138.5-billion) in credit to back a “partnership of prosperity” and pitching a broad alliance for global reform.

Hosting 54 nations for the biggest India-Africa summit‚ Modi laid on a lavish cultural programme with dancers‚ drummers and videos.

“The dreams of a third of humanity have come together under one roof‚” he said in a speech.

Behind the aspirational rhetoric lies a fundamental shift in India’s outlook under the leader‚ who wants Asia’s third-largest economy to break out of a history of isolation and nonalignment to become a global player.

Yet India‚ soon to become the world’s most populous country‚ has its work cut out to catch up with China‚ whose annual trade with Africa is three times larger than its own $72-billion (R996-billion).

“We will raise the level of our support for your vision of a prosperous‚ integrated and united Africa that is a major partner for the world‚” Modi told leaders‚ including President Jacob Zuma.

India and Africa are among the fastest-growing world economies‚ leading Modi to talk of a vibrant India and a resurgent Africa.

He promised $10-billion in new credit‚ in addition to $7.4-billion (R102-billion) in soft loans and $1.2-billion (R16.6-billion) in aid provided since the first summit in 2008.

In addition‚ India will offer grant aid of $600-million (R8.3-billion). Of that‚ $100-million (R1.38-billion) will go towards a new India-Africa Development Fund and $10-million to an India-Africa Health Fund.

Modi urged India and Africa to speak with one voice on global affairs‚ including United Nations reform.

He appealed for African support on trade, and to African nations to join an alliance of solar-rich countries at the forthcoming UN climate summit in Paris.

– Reuters

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