For the first time, India is preparing to host all the 54 African Union leaders for the third edition of the India-Africa forum summit in New Delhi in December.
The event is being billed as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s grand reach-out to the continent, where India’s economic and strategic footprints are growing, but far less than that of China.
The summit began in New Delhi in 2008. The last summit, held in Addis Ababa in 2011 saw participation from 15 African countries.
The choice of the countries is decided by the African Union on the basis of the Banjul format adopted for the participation.
This time New Delhi is keen on hosting all member countries of the African Union for the summit scheduled on December 4.
Government sources said that inviting all the countries for the summit showed the prime minister’s keenness to promote ties with the African countries. Modi is also considering a visit to Africa next year, sources added.
The summit will be preceded by senior officials’ meeting on December 1 and the foreign ministers’ meeting on December 2.
Preparations for the summit have already begun in consultation with the African Union commission.
Africa accounts for over 60% of the total concessional lines of credit (LOCs) extended by the EXIM Bank of India. From April 2009 till June this year, India has extended LOCs of over $4.2 billion to African countries.
India’s developmental cooperation with Africa includes short term capacity building training programmes in areas as agriculture, clean energy and sustainable development, information technology, long-term scholarships for higher studies and research and enhancement of people-to-people contacts.