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With Ebola on wane, India to host mega Africa summit in October

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  26 March 2015 12:00 AM GMT

New Delhi, March 25: With the virulence of the Ebola outbreak fading in west Africa, India is to host the postponed mega India Africa Forum Summit from October 26-30 this year, during which all the 54 member countries would be invited for the first time.

Secretary (West) in the ministry of exterl affairs vtej Sar announced at a briefing that all the 54 members of the African Union will be invited for this summit, unlike the previous summits where the engagement was with a “limited formula worked out with the Africa Union”.

Announcing the schedule, he said on October 26 they would be holding the meeting of senior officials, on October 27 the foreign ministers meeting, and on the following day the heads of state would arrive. The date for the summit would be October 29 and the fil day (Oct 31), would be reserved for bilaterals.

Sar said while the concerns on Ebola remain, the “trends are looking different today” and the government did not want to put away the “far too important” engagement with Africa indefinitely.

India has given $7 billion in soft loans to Africa over the years, besides setting up various capacity building institutes and a pan-African e-network.

In the previous two summits - in 2008 in New Delhi and in 2011 in Addis Ababa - around 12-15 countries participated.

The third summit was origilly scheduled to be held in June 2014 but had to be put off because of the Indian general election in May.

The new government of Prime Minister rendra Modi took office only on May 26.

The summit was to be held in December last year in Gurgaon, but had to be postponed due to the Ebola outbreak in west Africa, which has claimed over 10,000 lives. The Ebola virus has been on the way out of late.

India-Africa trade has crossed $70 billion and Indian investment in the continent is over $32 billion. However, Chi’s trade links with Africa are booming. Bilateral trade volume in 2013 reached $210.2 billion, over 2,000 times that in 1960. (IANS)

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