India offers Africa $10 bn soft loan, seeks stronger ties
New Delhi: India today offered a concessional credit of USD 10 billion to Africa over the next five years and a grant assistance of USD 600 million even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a strong pitch for deeper ties in key areas of counter-terrorism, climate change and UN reforms.
Addressing the inaugural session of the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) describing it as a "meeting of dreams of the one-third humanity under one roof", Modi said the heart beat of 1.25 billion Indians and 1.25 billion Africans is in rhythm and the partnership was "beyond strategic concerns and economic benefits."
Admitting that there are times when India has not done as well as they have wanted and not fulfilled commitments as quickly as it should have, he said the country will raise the level of its support for the vision of a prosperous, integrated and united Africa that was a major partner for the world.
"To add strength to our partnership, India will offer concessional credit of USD 10 billion over the next five years. This will be in addition to our ongoing credit programme. We will also offer a grant assistance of USD 600 million. This will include an India-Africa Development Fund of USD 100 million and an India-Africa Health Fund of USD 10 million. It will also include 50,000 scholarships in India over the next five years," the Prime Minister announced.
Noting that India has committed USD 7.4 billion in concessional credit and 1.2 billion dollars in grant since the first India-Africa Summit in 2008, Modi said it is creating 100 capacity-building institutions, and developing infrastructure, public transport, clean energy, irrigation, agriculture and manufacturing capacity across Africa.
During his nearly half-an-hour speech at the session, which was attended by 41 Heads of State and Government and hundreds of senior officials from 54 African countries, Modi called for stronger ties in the strategic areas of counter-terrorism and climate change as well as on UN reforms.
Stressing the need for UN Security Council reforms, he noted that the world was undergoing political, economic, technological and security transition on a scale and speed rarely seen in recent history.
"Yet our global institutions reflect the circumstances of the century that we left behind, not the one we are in today. These institutions have served us well, but unless they adjust to the changing world, they risk becoming irrelevant. We cannot say what will replace them in an uncertain future... That is why India and Africa must speak in one voice for reforms of the United Nations, including its Security Council," Modi said.
Seeking greater counter-terrorism ties, the Prime Minister said today, in many parts of the world, the light of a bright future flickers in the storm of violence and instability.
"When terror snuffs out life on the streets and beaches, and in malls and schools of Africa, we feel your pain as our own. And, we see the links that unite us against this threat. We also see that when our oceans are no longer safe for trade, we all suffer together," he asserted.