Declaration to strengthen Africa, India relationship
Date: 25 Mar 2008
Lusaka - Africa and India are to adopt a declaration to reinforce their existing relationship at the Africa-India Forum Summit to be held next month in India.The Africa Union (AU) said on Sunday that the summit was expected to adopt the Joint Declaration of the Africa-India Partnership which will contain the political commitments of the two sides as well as an Africa-India Framework for Cooperation.
The six-day summit, which will be held from 4 April, and to be preceded by a senior officials and ministerial meeting, is expected to attract high profile African leaders. Zambian President Dr Levy Mwanaawasa, the current Chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), is among leaders expected to attend the forum.Others expected to attend are the current chairman of the African Union and President of Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete and former AU chairman of the African Union and President of Ghana John Kufuor.
The regional bodies to be represented are the Arab Maghreb Union, Economic Community for West African States the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the East African Community and the SADC. The AU said the summit is intended to consider the modalities to strengthen the cooperation ties between the two partners in the economic and political areas. Among areas to be considered are science and technology, research and development, social development and capacity building, tourism, infrastructure, energy and environment and media and communication.
According to the AU the summit also aims to adopt a harmonised and comprehensive framework to reinforce cooperation in a wide rage of fields as support to the already existing bilateral cooperation between African countries and India. "The forum will also be an occasion for the sharing and exchange of good practices in harnessing resourcesfrom the Diaspora," it said.
Last week, India's government urged Indian firms to be more proactive in their approach to doing business in Africa if they are to challenge the surge from Chinese investments. Zambian Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Felix Mutati said Indian firms should emulate the Chinese quick business assessment procedures and project implementation so as to increase their investment in Zambia.
Minister Mutati, who also invited Indian investors to invest in Zambia, said investment opportunities still exist under the Multi Facility Economic Zone for Indian investors to set up manufacturing operations. He said the government had introduced special tax incentives under the Zambia Development Agency Act in form of tax holidays that are world class.