Africa on Agenda at Mini Pravasi Bhartiya Divas

"The Indian Diaspora acts as a bridge, linking India and the rest of the world, so the PBD will focus on how the Diaspora can help use such bridges for development that benefits all," Gupta said, adding that the delegates at the PBD would address issues specific to Africa.

"Aside from the cultural exchanges that takes place, such as the annual Shared History Festival that is exposing thousands of people across the country to Indian arts, culture and cuisine alongside local talent, the economic exchange between India and South Africa is growing constantly and is currently about USD 8 billion per annum", Gupta said.
The Mini PBD supplements the huge annual gathering in India in January to mark the date when Gandhi arrived in India from South Africa to lead the freedom struggle.

"There are two main reasons why the PBD is being hosted in South Africa this year after earlier fora in the US, Netherlands and Singapore," Gupta said.

"Firstly, it is among the oldest and largest community in the Indian diaspora and has made a sterling contribution to development in Africa. Secondly, it is a fitting tribute to the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first Indians as indentured labourers in Durban".

The PBD will therefore acknowledge the important role of South Africa's citizens of Indian descent.

The event coincides with Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary and will also be a part of the year-long celebrations to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indian immigrants in South Africa from India.

More than 600 delegates, mainly from Africa, are expected at the two-day event on Friday and Saturday that is being hosted by the Indian missions in conjunction with the City of Durban and the provincial government.

Gupta acknowledged the "very supportive" role of the Durban Municipality and the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal in the project: "They have always been very willing to embark on collaborative projects with India."

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