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Visit of African Union Delegation

March 10-13, 2010

            A 15-member delegation from the African Union is currently on a visit to India from 10-13 March 2010.  The delegation consists of the Members of the Bureau of the Multilateral Affairs Sub Committee of the Permanent Representatives Committee of the African Union and is led by the Permanent Representative of Cameroon to the African Union, H.E. Mr. Jacques Alfered Ndoumbe Eboule and includes the Permanent Representatives of Egypt, Sudan, South Africa and Benin.  Ambassador John K. Shinkaiye, Chief of Staff of the Office of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission leads the 9-member Commission delegation as part of the AU Team.  The visit was to finalize the Plan of Action of the Framework for Cooperation of the India Africa Forum Summit. 

2. At a meeting chaired by Shri Vivek Katju, Secretary (West), on 10.3.2010, the Plan of Action was agreed upon and the implementation process of the decisions taken at the India Africa Forum Summit was discussed.  The meeting was attended by the AU delegation and the African HOM’s in New Delhi, as well as senior representatives from various Ministries / Departments of Government of India and representatives of the Institutions, which are partners for the implementation of the Plan of Action.  During the meeting, Secretary (West) said that the Action Plan released on 10th March, which was a product of the consultative process which has been undertaken between India and the African Union and its member states, is based on the principles enunciated in the Delhi Declaration and the Framework of Cooperation and reflects our joint commitment to work in a full partnership.

3. During the meeting, the African Union delegation conveyed their appreciation for the manner in which India had engaged with them to implement the decisions.  The Chief of Staff of the African Union Chairperson said that they appreciate India for believing in this multilateral relationship with Africa and for putting on the table the resources required to implement the commitments it has made.  Throughout the process, India has listened carefully to Africa’s views and taken them in full consideration in making its proposals.  “Sometimes, the way cooperation is given is better than the content of the cooperation.”  He further said that in Africa’s partnership with India, both the way the cooperation has been given and the content have been exemplary.

4. The AU Delegation called on Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for External Affairs on 11.3.2010.  In his address, Dr. Tharoor said that the Plan of Action is an ambitious programme of cooperation with the entire African continent.   He expressed confidence that concrete results will emanate from it.  Dr. Tharoor assured the delegation that India’s commitment to Africa was total and sustained by our understanding of Africa as fellow developing countries.  Our process of consultation on a regular basis with them would continue and he emphasized that now that the Plan of Action had been readied for implementation and the deliverables laid out, a follow-up mechanism for its regular monitoring must come into play at the earliest. 

5.  The African Union delegation told the Hon’ble Minister that they would endeavour to select the countries which would host the 19 institutions offered by India at an early date.  They conveyed their heartfelt gratitude for the serious intent shown by India in implementing the decisions of the IAFS.  The Permanent Representative of Sudan said that the comprehensive Plan of Action was the most clear and detailed document among their partnerships.  Other members of the delegation also conveyed their happiness at the meticulous detail and planning with which the Indian side had undertaken the engagement with the African Union for the implementation of the IAFS decisions.

6.  In addition to capacity building programmes in a vide variety of areas, the programme also provides for setting up of several institutions in select African countries which will cater for all the countries in the continent. These institutions include five major institutions viz. (i) India Africa Institute of Foreign Trade, (ii) India Africa Diamond Institute, (iii) India Africa Institute of Educational Planning and Administration, (iv) India Africa Institute of Information Technology, (v) Pan-African Stock Exchange; 10 Vocational Training Centres and five human settlement institutes to support low-cost housing technologies.  An important aspect of the capacity building programmes is the offer of 300 scholarships in the field of agricultural education and research over four years.

7. The AU delegation also visited partner institutions like the Telecommunication Consultants India Ltd. (TCIL), the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), the National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC), Education Consultants India Ltd. (EdCIL), and National University of Education Planning and Administration (NUEPA), and had detailed interaction.  They also participated in a discussion with academics and scholars at the Indian Council of World Affairs.  

8.  The African Heads of Mission in New Delhi were also engaged in the meetings with the African Union delegation.  A copy of the Plan of Action of the Framework for Cooperation of the India Africa Forum Summit is enclosed.

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