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India, Africa two bright spots of hope, opportunity: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (left), African Union Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (second from right) and Morocco’s King Mohammed VI(right) at the India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi on Thursday.— Photo: R. V. Moorthy  

Calling India and Africa “the two bright spots of hope and opportunities in the global economy,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the leaders of African nations here on Thursday that India and Africa must “speak in one voice” for U.N. reforms. He was addressing representatives of African nations at the third India-Africa Forum Summit.

“This is a world of free nations and awakened aspirations. Our institutions cannot be representative of our world, if they do not give voice to Africa, with more than a quarter of U.N. members or the world’s largest democracy with one-sixth of humanity,” he said.

Bilateral meetings

Mr. Modi, who held bilateral meetings with all 40 leaders present in Delhi, the largest such representation at an African summit outside the continent, also spoke to them about the need to coordinate their positions at the U.N. during its 70th year, when India hopes the reform process will be taken forward.

During his address, he outlined India’s vision and desire to assist Africa in building infrastructure from “Cairo to Cape Town, Marrakesh to Mombassa.” He announced credit at a concessional rate of $10 billion over five years, in addition to about $7.4 billion that India has already pledged since 2008, and the first summit. “We will also offer a grant assistance of $600 million. This will include an India-Africa Development Fund of $100 million and an India-Africa Health Fund of $10 million,” he said, adding that 50,000 scholarships would be given to African students.