Seminar on Asia-Africa Growth Corridor
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The Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), New Delhi, organised a Round Table Discussion (RTD) on the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) on 10th January 2018. The AAGC initiative emerged from the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Japan in 2016, which was again discussed during his counterpart, Shinzo Abe’s visit to India in 2017. The AAGC is a multi-lateral initiative with the objective to enhance growth and connectivity between Asia and Africa. It focuses on development cooperation projects, quality infrastructure and institutional connectivity, skill enhancement and people-to-people partnership. Agriculture, health, technology and disaster management have also been identified as the main areas of development cooperation. The RTD discussed India’s current engagements with Africa and evaluated the points of convergence with Japan. The RTD examined important aspects of shipping connectivity, letters of credit through EXIM bank, credit insurance (as offered by Export Credit Guarantee Corporation), etc.

During the discussion, the speakers mentioned that adequate resources have to be provided to operationalize the concept of AAGC. It would be helpful to make use of synergies available with the Japanese programme under Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). India already has made substantial investments in capacity building in Africa through the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme programme. India also provides consultancy in education and medicine through Pan-Africa tele-medicine and tele-education programmes. This programme was initiated by Late President Abdul Kalam.

There were also suggestions for strengthening people-to-people contact through better air connectivity. The size of the diaspora, the Non-Resident Indian (NRI) community and African businessman interested in India are substantial enough to justify enhanced air connectivity. The speaker emphasised the need to resume direct shipping services between India and Africa; it was pointed out that till three or four years ago, the Shipping Corporation operated direct shipping services which can be resumed. It was also stressed that there should be better disbursement of financial assistance committed by India through India Africa Forum Summit. It was felt that this would also require review of the insurance premium to bring it in line with those offered by other countries.

Africa has witnessed strong growth despite the downturn of prices of the commodities. Africa generates tax and fiscal revenues of $500 billion annually - more than 10 times the foreign aid the continent receives per year and receives $60 billion in remittances. This has helped the independent Africa’s causes which includes issues related to struggle against apartheid, de-colonization, etc. India is also one of the largest contributors to United Nation peace-keeping. There is thus much scope to work together as partners for progress.

Event Date 
January 10, 2018
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