India and Africa strengthen ties

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The India-Africa summit forum ended on Wednesday in New Delhi, India, with a declaration of heads of state and government spelling out their position on and propose solutions to burning issues in the world.

By Ousseynou Guèye

The declaration, dubbed Dehli Declaration, highlights in 23 points the position of Africa on the burning issues facing the world.

Based on the principle that Africa and India have undergone significant positive changes over the past two decades, the two parties have decided to build on these achievements to facilitate food self-sufficiency, revitalise their economies and work towards the strengthening of their partnership.

This partnership, according to the Dehli Declaration, “will be based on the fundamental principles of equality, mutual respect and understanding among our peoples for a shared benefit”.

About climate change, the Dehli Declaration insists on the fact that this phenomenon is a major challenge to be addressed. “We reaffirm that development is the best form of adaptation and that the absolute priority for our countries is to ensure accelerated social and economic development,” the Declaration said.

However, the heads of state and the host expressed regret that developed countries had not abided by their commitments for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Declaration said Africans had noted the proposal made by the Indian Prime Minister on the convergence of emissions per capita of developing countries and developed nations.

The Delhi Declaration asks the international community “to immediately honour the commitments it made in the fields of technology transfer, funding and capacity – building”.

On trade negotiations in Doha, Qatar, India and Africa said agriculture remained indispensable to the conclusion of this cycle.

“Any acceptable agreement must appropriately protect the means of subsistence and duly take into account the preoccupations of developing countries in terms of food security and rural development.”

They also highlight that the result of this cycle passes through a major reduction of internal support and grants made by developed countries that thwart trade.

Likewise, the heads of state and government of India and Africa have asked the World Health Organisation to “facilitate access to products originating from the Least Developed Countries customs-free and without quota”.

Moreover, the Dehli Declaration lays emphasis on the need for an urgent reform of international financial institutions to enable developing countries to make their voices heard as regards the determination of quotas and voting rights.

The Declaration also focuses on the need to urgently reform the United Nations in a bid to better face up to world challenges.

“We share the view that the United Nations must operate in a more transparent and efficient way,” the heads of state and government said, adding that “the extension of the Security Council, as regards its permanent and non-permanent members, is critical to the process of reform of the United Nations.”

In order to better harmonise things, the heads of state and government agreed to organise an Africa-India summit every three years. The next forum will take place in Africa in 2011.

Meanwhile, the heads of state of India and Africa have drawn up a cooperation fr amework between the two parties expected to strengthen their partnership in all f ields.

This framework spells out cooperation between India and Africa in the fields of the economy, agriculture, trade, industry and investments, small and medium-size industries as well as in the financial sector.

Regional integration, political cooperation, civil society and good governance, science, technology and research-development, as well as other issues, were addressed in this cooperation framework.

A plan of action and a follow-up mechanism will be drawn up within one year to ensure the establishment of the cooperation framework between India and Africa.

The India-Africa summit, which started on Tuesday, set for itself the goal of redefining and revitalising the partnership and relations between the two entities .

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