PM announces the Indo-Japan initiative Asia Africa Growth Corridor at AfDB
The Dollar Business Bureau
Recalling the historical ties India shared with the African continent, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 52nd annual meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB) at Gujarat yesterday.
Lauding the growing trade relationship between Africa and India, he mentioned that trade has multiplied between the two in the last fifteen years. It has doubled in the last five years to reach nearly seventy-two billion US dollars in 2014-15. India’s commodity trade with Africa in 2015-16 was higher than its commodity trade with America he said.
The highlight of the inaugural address was the keenly awaited announcement by the PM on the Indo-Japan initiative, the ‘Asia Africa Growth Corridor’(AAGC), that was discussed and deliberated upon with Japanese PM Abe during his visit to Tokyo last year.
Referring to the discussions that he had with US and Japan to support development in Africa, Modi said, “We discussed our commitment for enhancing growth prospects for all. In our joint declaration, we mentioned an Asia Africa Growth Corridor and proposed further conversations with our brothers and sisters from Africa.”
The PM’s announcement comes at a time when India and China’s bilateral ties are at a low point, with India refusing to kowtow to China’s OBOR by not participating in the summit that was held recently. Experts see the AAGC announcement a reply to Beijing’s OBOR.
The blueprint of the AAGC details that, the corridor will link South Asia with Africa through Chabahar port which India is developing with Japan’s help. Infrastructure development will link the coastal countries of Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia and Madagascar with other land locked African nations such as Zambia, Ethiopia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Botswana and Chad.
Sorting of issues and outlining of developments were discussed by the Indian and Japanese officials in Tokyo and later in Delhi this year where officials from the US were a part of the trilateral meet.
Referring to the developments the PM said, “Indian and Japanese research institutions have come up with a Vision Document. I congratulate RIS, ERIA and IDE-JETRO for their efforts in putting it together. This was done in consultation with think tanks from Africa. I understand the Vision Document would be presented at the Board meeting later. The idea is that India and Japan, with other willing partners, would explore joint initiatives in skills, health, infrastructure, manufacturing and connectivity.”