India to increase economic cooperation with African countries

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New Delhi, Sept 16 (UNI) India would increase cooperation with African countries especially in the field of cluster development, pharmaceuticals, low cost housing and building materials, renewable energy, leather, food processing, traditional knowledge, traditional medicines and use of ICT in industry.

The blueprint of an action plan to promote South-South cooperation with countries of Africa will be drawn up soon by the UNIDO Centre For South-South Industrial Cooperation (UCSSIC), and follows deliberations of the 5-day International Conference on India-Africa Cooperation on Industry, Trade and Investment, jointly which concluded here on Friday. The Conference was organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in cooperation with the Indian Government under the aegis of the recently established UCSSIC.

Participants from 13 African countries said they learnt a lot about India's industrial experience and evinced particular interest in cluster development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Addressing the valedictory session of the Conference, Department of Industrial Policy&Promotion (DIPP) Secretary Ajay Shanker said that productive and useful deliberations had helped create a critical mass of interaction and personal relationships which needed to be built upon to carry the process of south-south cooperation forward. He also underlined the need and space for creative industrial policies and programmes, which would lead to results.

Mr N N Prasad, Joint Secretary in the ministry, stressed the need for developing on the momentum generated by the event through country-specific action plans and monitoring of the progress.

Mr Philippe Scholtes, Representative and Regional Director of UNIDO, spoke of the interest being expressed by developing countries to share best practices for industrial development. He said UNIDO was setting up a global network of south-south centres, which included the UCSSIC set up earlier this year in India, as well as the centre proposed to be established soon in China and added that the Conference marked the first step in the road to stronger trade and industrial relations with Africa, brokered by UNI

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