India reach out to Africa, says it is ready to share developmental experiences

New Delhi, Oct.12 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna has expressed India's readiness to share expertise and resources with Africa.

During his interaction with a group of eminent African Journalists here today, Krishna said: "We have accumulated a host of developmental experiences, which are perhaps more relevant to fellow developing countries. We are privileged not only to share them, but also to share our limited resources with friends in Africa."

"We have historical linkages with the African continent, having shared many trials and tribulations together. It is gratifying that our relationship has transformed in recent decades and years. We have now become developmental partners, looking out for each others interests and well being", Krishna stated.

A group of over 19 African Journalists from resource rich South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Mozambique, Sudan, Botswana, Namibia, Ethiopia Tanzania, and Ghana are presently touring India and being hosted by Ministry ofExternal Affairs.

India has launched number of initiatives in Africa, including the 20,000 scholarships over a five-year period, a Pan-African E-Network, infrastructure projects including Pan-African Centers of Excellence,. It has also extended two billion dollars in fresh lines of credit.

"India and Africa need to infuse new vigour in our cultural and people to people ties. We have been fascinated by each other's cultural traditions and have a lot to offer in both directions," the External Affairs Minister Krishna stated.

India's trade with Africa has soared from 967 million dollars in 1991 to 40 billion dollars in 2009 and is targeted for US$70 billion by 2015.

Spurred by large development projects funded by China, already underway,India's private sector is aggressively pushing into Africa, hoping to encash its rich ties with the continent.

Rich in natural resources and with a huge untapped consumer market the Africa is being hotly contested for by both China and India.

While speaking to journalists, Krishna also congratulated South Africa for hosting World Cup and, in a lighter vein, expressed grouse that he is not invited to the games.

"Let me congratulate you, how wonderfully you organised the game. You brought great credit to the developing countries," Krishna stated.

China's trade relations with Africa were worth less than India's in 1999, but have since leapt to beyond US$60 billion.

Replying to questions from the African journalists, Krishna said India is looking for engaging with those African countries which have very rich natural resources.

He said India would like to engage, interact and collaborate with them so that it could be a win-win situation for both .

Krishna also recalled Mahatma Gandhi's stay in South Africa and said that Indians always have a special place for Africa in their hearts.

Krishna said that "it was necessary to work hand-in-hand with all our African brethren", it is necessary that "we think alike with all our African brethren," it is necessary "to act together" and draw from each others' experiences.

"Our systems may be different, our development goals are same.

Those developmental objectives will be uppermost in our minds in this long distance running," Krishna stated. By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)

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