In line with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's promise to African nations, India will begin enhancing its engagement this November with a project on road engineering.
These engagement are part of $5 billion (Rs22,175 crore) aid for the mineral and oil-rich continent where China has deepened its stake considerably.
India's strategy will focus on enhancing expertise and manpower, especially in infrastructure sector.
The road transport ministry has firmed up two proposals to equip African engineers to build roads and highways in their countries.
Indian engineers will help set up eight road-testing laboratories in Africa. "The plan would be implemented in phases, between 2011 and 2014, in key African countries which are being identified by the external affairs ministry," said a senior ministry official.
Besides, 200 African engineers and professionals from the road sector would also be trained in India for five months, starting November. The programme will be hosted by the Noida-based Indian Academy of Highway Engineers (IAHE).
"Their personnel will be trained in computer-aided design of roads and bridges, preparation of detailed project reports and carrying out feasibility studies, public-private partnerships, contract management as well as highway construction," a ministry official said.
This is, however, not the first time that engineers from Africa will be trained here. In the last year-and-a- half, already a couple of dozen engineers from African nations like Swaziland and Ghana have been trained by IAHE, a unit of the road ministry.
In engaging Africa, India has been no match for China. While the bilateral trade between Africa and India was estimated at US $ 46 billion in 2010, China-Africa trade was to the tune of US $ 109 billion for that year.
According to the projections, deeper cooperation with African nations can help India meet its increasing demand for resources, power and even food.