African Heads of State and Government gathered at the Third Africa-India Forum Summit (AIFS-III) on 29 October 2015 witnessed a blend of the rich cultural diversity of Africa and India during the opening ceremony that took place at the Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex in New Delhi, where dance groups from both sides in their colourful traditional regalia, showcased the beauty of a fruitful partnership between Africa and India.
Jointly organized by the African Union (AU) and the Government of India, the Summit was co-chaired by H.E. Mr. Robert Mugabe, Chairperson of the AU, who is also the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and H.E. Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, in the presence of H.E Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), who presented a key note address at the inaugural ceremony of the Third Africa-India Summit. The AUC Deputy Chairperson, Mr. Erastus Mwencha, alongside some AU Commissioners and High Officials, also attended the event.
President Mugabe recalled the great role played by India in the fight against colonialism and apartheid in Africa. He underscored the importance and urgency to strengthen the African and Indian ties with a view to promoting friendship and collaboration. According to the AU Chairperson, the Declarations adopted during the First and Second Summits, held in New Delhi in April 2008 and in Addis Ababa in May 2011 respectively, provided the necessary foundation that has consolidated and sustained the strategic partnership.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his opening remarks, referred to Africa as the “land where history began, humanity grew and new hope rises”, stressing the fact that the peoples of Africa and India have a common history and geographical background …”We have long lived under the shadow of colonialism, and we have fought for our liberty and our dignity… from Mahatma Ghandi to Albert Luthuli to Nelson Mandela”, underlined the Indian Prime Minister.
According to Prime Minister Modi, “the Summit is not just a meeting of India and Africa but it is the dream of one-third of humanity that have come together under one roof.” While noting that Africa and India are the world’s oldest civilizations, he remarked that the currents of the mighty Indian Ocean have nurtured the ties of kinship, commerce and culture of the peoples of both sides through centuries.
Addressing the Summit, H.E Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), stated that, while Africa welcomes the world, and in particular India, to take advantage of the opportunities that exist for investment, it is equally important to encourage the establishment of African-owned businesses in India. “It is our wish as Africans that India creates wider opportunities within the framework of this partnership, to benefit from its remarkable expertise in the identified areas of cooperation as listed in the outcome documents of this Summit”, she noted.
Dr. Dlamini Zuma noted that the Africa-India Partnership has evolved over time, and currently transcending its bilateral content into a multilateral dimension. She stated that Africa’s developmental trajectory anchors on holistic continental dynamics that would bring continental value to the growing African population. She informed that, prior to this global gathering, the African Union Heads of State and Government in 2014 adopted the African Union Agenda 2063, which defined the “The Africa We Want”. The overall vision of the Agenda 2063 is to achieve an “integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, an Africa driven and managed by its own citizen and representing a dynamic force in the international arena”. This overarching objective is broken down into specific aspirations, goals and priority areas, to ensure the maximum achievements of which Africa is now mobilized at the continental, regional and national levels. During its 25th Ordinary Session held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in June 2015, the African Union Assembly adopted the First Ten-Year Plan of Agenda 2063, spanning the period 2013-2023. “As the continent strives towards achieving this objective, working together with our old and new partners would enable greater opportunities to build synergies in all the efforts that have been invested as to attain common success”, underscored Dr. Dlamini Zuma.
Quoting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on one of his tweet posted on 17 October 2015, “Stepping up trade ties, particularly in oil and gas sector, strengthening maritime cooperation and lifting the overall engagement to a new high will be the main agenda of the Summit”, Dr. Dlamini Zuma noted that such statement is an indication that there is already a new way of thinking towards bringing in more energy and commitment in this partnership. She hoped that the outcome of the Third Africa-India Summit will animate and reinvigorate the Africa-India Strategic Partnership.
Meanwhile, the Heads of State and Government adopted the Declarations and the Africa-India Framework for Strategic Cooperation. Copies of the two documents will subsequently be made available on the website of the African Union: au.int .
Source: African Union Commission (AUC)