India's Modi pitches 'partnership of prosperity' to Africa
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned on the charm for African leaders on Thursday, promising $10-billion in credit to back a “partnership of prosperity” and pitching a broad alliance for global reform.
Hosting 54 nations for the biggest India-Africa summit, Modi said: “The dreams of a third of humanity have come together under one roof.”
This characterises a fundamental shift in India’s outlook under Modi, who wants India to break out of isolation and non-alignment to become a global player.
India has its work cut out to catch up with China, whose annual trade with Africa is three times larger than India’s $72-billion.
“We will raise the level of our support for your vision of a prosperous, integrated and united Africa that is a major partner for the world,” Modi told leaders.
India and Africa are home to seven in 10 of the world’s poor but are among the fastest growing economies, leading Modi to talk of a “vibrant India” and a “resurgent Africa”.
He promised $10-billion in new credit, in addition to $7.4-billion in soft loans and $1.2-billion in aid provided since the first India-Africa summit in 2008.
India will also offer grant aid of $600-million. Of that, $100-million would go towards a new India-Africa Development Fund and $10-million to an India-Africa Health Fund.
Modi urged India and Africa to speak with one voice on global affairs, including reform of the UN. India aspires to a permanent seat on an expanded UN Security Council, saying the UN fails to reflect today’s power relations.
He appealed for African support on trade, saying a World Trade Organization ministerial meeting in December in Nairobi should ensure that free trade talks serve both regions’ goals.
Modi also appealed to African nations to join an alliance of “solar-rich” countries at the forthcoming UN climate summit in Paris to promote clean and affordable energy.