5 takeaways from Modi's Africa visit

It comes eight months after India hosting the third India-Africa summit in New Delhi.

 |  4-minute read |   11-07-2016
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On the last leg of his five-day and four-nation tour to Africa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in the capital of Kenya, Nairobi, on July 11.

Leaving India on July 7, he has already visited Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania in a bid to strengthen relations between India and these countries besides shoring up economic and strategic ties. Modi has also highlighted the need to unite against the menace of global terror.

1. Economic ties

Mozambique and India complement each other. Mozambique's strengths are in the areas of India's need. What Mozambique requires, on the other hand, is available in India.

The two countries strengthened their partnership for food security, with India committing to buy pulses from Mozambique.

While it would help meet India's requirement, the purchase will also facilitate long-term investments in commercial farming, generate farm employment and raise farmer's incomes in that country.

President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique highlighted agricultural development as his top priority.

Indian experts held discussions on how the two countries can work together to improve agricultural infrastructure and productivity in Mozambique. They agreed to put this cooperation on the fast track. In an effort to boost economic ties, Modi spoke at the India-South Africa business meet.

The Indian prime minister also met "Solar Mamas", a group of rural women solar engineers from Africa, who have been trained under programmes supported by the Indian government to fabricate, install, use, repair and maintain solar lanterns and household solar lighting systems in their villages.

Tanzania and India signed an agreement under which India will provide a line of credit of $92 million for the rehabilitation and improvement of Zanzibar's water supply system. The two countries are also working on a number of other water projects for 17 cities. India is willing to consider an additional $500 million line of concessional credit.

2. Strategic ties

India renewed its ties with South Africa, which is an important strategic partner. The ties between the two countries are historical and deep-rooted. South African president Jacob Zuma supported India's membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

Being neighbours across the Indian Ocean, Tanzanian president John Magufuli and Modi agreed to deepen the overall defence and security partnership, especially in the maritime domain, between the two countries.

Kenya and India signed an MoU on defence cooperation, strengthening the institutional cooperation between defence establishments of the two countries. This would include greater staff exchanges; sharing of expertise and experiences; training and institution-building, cooperation in hydrography, and supply of equipment.

modiaf110716mb_071116081513.jpg Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and president of Tanzania John Magufuli playing the drum at the State House in Dar es Salaam on July 10, 2016. Photo: PIB

3. Emphasis on terror

Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and Modi recognised that terrorism and the rapid spread of radical ideologies pose a common challenge to the people of the two countries, to the region and to the whole world. They agreed to deepen security partnership including in the fields of cyber security, combating drugs and narcotics, and human trafficking.

4. Healthcare

India will donate essential medicines for the Mozambican public health system, including medicines for the treatment of AIDS.

India has also shown its readiness to meet the healthcare priorities of the Tanzanian government, including the supply of medicines and equipment. An Indian radiotherapy machine is being installed at Bugando medical centre to treat cancer patients.

5. Cultural ties

The aim of Modi's visit was to increase cooperation and boost cultural linkages with all the four African nations. He also interacted with the Indian community, which is present in substantial numbers in these countries.

In South Africa, Modi visited Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and Pietermaritzburg - all associated with Mahatma Gandhi, who went to South Africa as a lawyer seeking work and returned to India as a strong voice for humanitarian values, who shaped the history of humankind.

South Africa is home to a vibrant Indian community, that has made South Africa its home for years. Modi interacted with the Indian community in Johannesburg on July 8.

In Nairobi, Modi offered floral tributes to Gandhi's memorial, who is widely revered in Kenya. He also paid tribute to Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of Kenya and a towering political figure of Africa. An important event in Kenya was the handing over of ambulances and a model of "Bhabhatron".

This was Modi's first visit to Africa. He had visited Mauritius and Seychelles in March 2015 though. The visit comes eight months after India hosting in New Delhi the third India-Africa summit in October 2015.

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