External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj cited a popular African proverb: “If you want to go quickly go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
The major focus of the week-long summit was to tap the unbounded opportunities and expanding two-way engagement in varied sectors with the African continent, which saw the participation by 54 nations.
After the first successful phase of Indo-Africa summit, India is all set to move ahead with another major project, the marathon meetings with 41 heads of Africa. PM Narendra Modi has initiated 19 bilateral agreements that have initiated the process of marathon meetings.
PM’s major focus is on common goals of representation in the United Nations Security Council, combating terrorism and climate change. The meeting also centres on increasing the bilateral trade between India and Africa. Thus one of the central themes of these marathon meetings is to devise ways of having greater financial ties with Africa and somehow take it ahead of China. The current trade between India and Africa is about $70 billion which is much less than China which is about $200 billion.
India has major oil investments in countries like South Sudan, Egypt and Libya and is a chief importer of crude oil from Nigeria. But still India lags behind China and wishes to increase its dealings in way that is progressive and beneficial for both the countries.
Bilateral talks with various African heads also engage in demarcating areas for cooperation in various fields other than trade that includes cooperation in agriculture, IT (Information Technology), skill development, cyber security, renewable energy, power generation, water supply, transportation, health care, reform in the institutions of global governance and most importantly discussions over ways to enhance prosperity and mutual understanding between the two countries.
Hence the projects taken up reflect India’s vision of South-south cooperation and also its aim of developing the region by engaging itself thoroughly along with other nations of the region.