India to increase partnership with countries in Africa: Puri

India to increase partnership with countries in Africa: Puri

At a high level Summit on South-South cooperation at the United Nations, Indian envoy to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri said: "We are happy that today we are also able to extend our partnership in a significant manner financially."

"Our annual outlay on concessional lending and grants is over USD 1 billion, covering countries in our region, in Africa and beyond. In addition, USD 5 billion has been extended as lines of credit since 2003," he added.

The Indian envoy stressed that New Delhi was taking its cooperation beyond its immediate neighbourhood to other regions especially Africa.

"The Government of India has extended over USD 3 billion concessional lines of credit to countries in Africa," Puri said, noting that in 2008 New Delhi announced additional lines of credit of USD 5.4 billion for the next five years.

Other programmes in Africa include the Pan-African E-network project and the TEAM-9 initiative focused on West Africa "that seeks to bridge the 'digital divide' between Africa and the rest of the world."

Puri pointed out that at the India-Africa Forum Summit held in April 2008 in New Delhi, India proposed to undertake projects against grants in excess of USD 500 million over the next 5–6 years.

"These are being implemented in consultation with our African partners. We have also unilaterally agreed to duty free and quota free market access to goods from 34 least developed countries in Africa," he said.

At the same time, Puri stressed that South-South cooperation could not replace North-South cooperation especially if the South wanted to overcome its developmental challenges.

"This is even more important as we draw close to the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals," he said.

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