India holds talks with African regional economic communitiesBy IANS
Friday, November 19, 2010
NEW DELHI - India’s “active” engagement with some of Africa’s regional economic communities (RECs) had resulted in the signing of several memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with these groups, the external affairs ministry said Friday.
“There has been active engagement with some of the RECs and MOUs have also been signed but on this occasion, an initiative was taken to engage all of them together so that the implementation of the India-Africa action plan for the framework of cooperation could be discussed in detail and implementation procedures worked out,” the ministry said in a statement.
The release also said that India will establish 10 small industry incubators in Africa, two in every region under commitments of the action plan of the India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS).
The meeting, held Nov 14-16, was attended by the secretary generals of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC); the president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); the deputy executive secretary of Southern Africa Development Community (SADC); the adviser in-charge of political affairs of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CENSAD); the director of political affairs of the Union of the Arab Maghreb (UMA/AMU) and senior officials from their organisations.
Welcoming the RECs, Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur said that they were an important element of the India-Africa partnership structure and New Delhi looked forward to working with them to implement IAFS decisions.
The ministry statement also said that Indias multi-layered cooperation with Africa worked through the traditional bilateral engagement, with the rapidly evolving engagement at the continental level through the African Union and also at the regional level through the RECs.
The delegates also attended two special sessions organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to enable their interaction with the private sector.
The REC representatives also met officials of several ministries and government agencies engaged in implementing jointly agreed on programmes and projects.
The RECs expressed their deep appreciation for the Government of Indias initiative in inviting them as integral partners of India in Africa, the ministry statement said.
They also appreciated Indias cultural diplomacy in Africa during an interaction with the director general of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).
A detailed wrap-up session was held under the chairmanship of Secretary (West) Vivek Katju in the Ministry of External Affairs, where the results of the process of consultation and how to take it further were discussed, the statement added.