Africa's progress could help resolve world's many problems: PM

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addresses a press conference on board his special aircraft
New Delhi, May 29: India looks upon Africa as a new growth pole for the world economy and its progress could help resolve problems relating to food and natural resources, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said.

"We look upon Africa as a new growth pole for the world economy... the world problems with regard to food and natural resource are going to be resolved in what happens to economic development pace of Africa," Sigh told

reporters on Saturday on his way back from his six-day Africa visit.

The Prime Minister noted that the world is faced with a shortage of raw material, food and other issues.

"The more I look at the possibilities of progress in Africa, I'm convinced that it is going to provide the pace for the solutions of the global food problem, global resource problem.

"Therefore, it is the responsibility of all of us to work together with the countries of Africa to evolve a more equitable, more balanced and a more inclusive process of development, avoiding the colonial patterns of development in this regard," he said.

During his visit to Ethiopia and Tanzania, Singh announced a financial package of 6.6 billion to the African nations.

In Addis Ababa, the Prime Minister addressed the Second Africa-India Forum Summit and announced USD five billion lines of credit to Africa besides unveiling a slew of measures to boost infrastructure development and capacity building in the mineral-rich continent.

He committed an additional USD 700 million to establish new institutions and training programmes and USD 300 million for development of a new Ethio-Djibouti railway line.

Singh also announced a new line of credit and assistance of USD 190 million for Tanzania and signed an agreement on avoidance of double taxation

The two nations also vowed to intensify cooperation to combat terrorism and piracy and work closely for comprehensive UN reforms.

During the press-interaction on board his special flight, the Prime Minister acknowledged that there was an imbalance in trade between India and Africa and New Delhi was seeking to forge a new relationship where cooperation will be a two flow process and will be mutually beneficial.

"We will ensure to enlarge the capacity of African countries to help themselves to strengthen the process of self-reliance, equitable sustainable growth amongst them so that over a period of time a prosperous Africa not only becomes source of additional demand for Indian exports but also develops capabilities to meet India's growing requirements of many of the food products and natural resources," Singh said.

To another question, Singh said that the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) has "not lost its relevance".

"Globalisation has come to be accepted as unavoidable. But we want to develop a style and substance of globalisation which benefits all players, and that is the role in which the NAM has to play," he said.

The Prime Minister said he believed that ultimately all international relations were power relations and it was India's desire to pool all the collective weight of the developing countries to make the processes of global growth more equitable and more sustainable.

On the issue of climate change, he said India wanted this to be an instrument of strengthening the process of sustainable development and not as a means of impoverishing the countries of the south, or leading to de-industrialization of the countries of the south.

Singh, who met leaders from over 15 African countries, said there was a widespread convergence of views on challenges confronting Africa and India in the world economy as a whole, and the imperative of the two sides working together to ensure a more equitable global order.

PTI

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