Print This Post
14 July 2017,

Opening Remarks for Reinforcing India’s Development Cooperation with Africa

Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies Programme

post image

Remarks by Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia, Distinguished Fellow, Gateway House,  as Chair of Session on “Reinforcing India’s Development Cooperation with Africa” at the 12th CII-Exim Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership

New Delhi, 10 March 2017

Distinguished Ministers, panelists, Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome!

Quite often in a discourse on India’s-Africa ties, references are made to factors of geography, history and the long-established sense of mutual empathy and understanding at the peoples level. But, in this assembly largely of corporate leaders, one may highlight the fact that India and African nations are bound today through a strategic partnership that views the relationship as mutually beneficial, convergent on vital interests, and multi-sectoral and long-term in its essential nature.

A critical component of the strategic partnership is India’s development cooperation with Africa. The philosophy of India-Africa development partnership needs to be debated and appreciated amply. A well-established view in India is that this partnership is fundamentally different from the western model as well as from the model offered by certain Asian nations. India’s approach is anchored in sovereign equality and non-interference, absence of political conditionalities, and mutual benefit. To view it as altruism or beneficial to one side only may not be realistic. Cooperation works best when it benefits both sides and receives support from our peoples.

What are the elements of this development partnership? The host institutions’ concept note identifies several areas such as duty free, quota free access to low income countries, grants and concessional assistance, and lines of credit. According to a recent study, in terms of grants, loans and training programmes, the decade from 2004 to 2014 witnessed a four-fold increase in their value, with the latest budget valued at $ 1.6 billion.

We are all familiar with the fact that at the Third India-Africa Summit, India offered a new concessional credit of $ 10 billion for the period 2016-2020, and an assistance grant of $ 600 million. The latter includes $ 100 million for India-Africa Development Fund, $ 10 million for India-Africa Health Fund, the financing of 50,000 scholarships in India for the next five years, funds for the expansion of the Pan Africa E-network and of institutions of skilling and training across Africa.

There are many issues and questions that deserve to be explored and discussed today such as: what are the challenges for India’s development partnership programmes? Are the LOCs delivering the goods? How can the duty free, quote free access issues be addressed better? Has the promise to tackle “the shadow that falls between intention and implementation” been getting largely fulfilled? Has the monetary system been strengthened? Can we suggest some new ideas for consideration by policymakers in India and Africa?

First our panelists and then some of you, through hopefully pointed questions, will have an opportunity to share views and insights with all of us today. Let us have a stimulating dialogue!

Rajiv Bhatia is Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies, Gateway House

This speech was delivered at the 12th CII-Exim Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership

You can read exclusive content from Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations, here.

For interview requests with the author, or for permission to republish, please contact

© Copyright 2017 Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations. All rights reserved. Any unauthorized copying or reproduction is strictly prohibited