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India to partner with Africa to tackle challenges of 21st century: PM

New Delhi, Mon, 05 Mar 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Mar 5 (ANI): Asserting that the processes of globalization and growing inter-dependence among nations pose fundamental new challenges to the economic sustenance of Asia and Africa, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Monday said India has a vision for a partnership with Africa to deal with some of the common challenges of the 21st century.


Dr. Singh, who participated in the inauguration of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Afro-Asian Rural Development Organization here today, in his address said: "Over much of the last century, the people of Asia and Africa fought together, shoulder to shoulder, to liberate themselves from colonial domination. Today the challenges we face are different but equally daunting. There are threats to international peace."


"The processes of globalization and the growing inter-dependence among nations pose fundamental new challenges to our economic sustenance. We face the rising aspirations of our teeming millions who demand and deserve nutritious food, clean drinking water, quality education and affordable health care," he added.


Dr. Singh said the India-Africa Forum Summit process was initiated in the year 2008, during which the leaders of India and Africa agreed on a framework for cooperation for a sustainable and wide-ranging partnership in development.


"The first area of cooperation identified under this framework was agriculture. The thrust of the first phase of cooperation in this sector is on capacity building. We hope and trust this will complement the good work being done by the Afro-Asian Rural Development Organization, which runs international training programmes in seven member countries," he said.


Dr. Singh said India will provide more than 500 new scholarships over the next few years particularly in agricultural sciences.


"We have earmarked 700 science fellowships named after the celebrated Indian Nobel Laureate C.V. Raman for Africa. 150 African students have already been awarded this prestigious fellowship. We are also conducting short-term training courses in areas such as water conservation, livestock and fisheries production, farm mechanization and post-harvest processing and value addition," said Dr. Singh.


"We have also agreed to pool our intellectual resources in the area of development planning. Joint studies have been planned on cotton production in Africa and on integrated water resource development and management of five different river basins in Africa," he added.


Dr. Singh said institution building is another important facet of the cooperation between India and Africa.


"We have earmarked about US $ 100 million for establishing various institutions including the India Africa Institute of Agriculture and Rural Development, soil water and tissue testing laboratories, farm science centres, agricultural seeds production-cum-demonstration centres and rural technology parks in different parts of Africa," he added.


The Prime Minister also called for encouraging more investment and trade in agriculture between Asia and Africa.


Recalling the important speech made by the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on the subject of 'Green Economy and Structural Transformation in Africa', Dr. Singh said: "I believe that in the future we will need to tackle the short term and long term environmental challenges that our economies face. Our scientists and experts have to reflect on technologies and processes that are most suitable for our rural conditions and circumstances, both in Africa and in Asia"


"We have to work together to build a favourable international regime that enables us to access funds and green technologies for rural economic and social growth. We should put our heads together to work for the best outcomes at the climate change negotiations and the forthcoming Rio + 20 Conference in Brazil. In pursuing our common goals, we should draw upon our own knowledge, our traditions and wisdom," he added. (ANI)


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