By Phillip Barea
Addis Ababa, February 22, 2011 (Ezega.com) -- India´s government has announced that Ethiopia will be the host country for its second international summit with African states in May of this year. Indian President Pratibha Patil made the announcement this morning in a joint session of both houses of India´s parliament.
She told the assembled parliamentarians that: “My government intends to hold the second India-Africa Forum Summit in Ethiopia later this year…As the first such initiative in Africa by India, it is a measure of the special place that Africa enjoys in the hearts of the people of India”.
Although many African countries were competing for this honor, Ethiopia was finally chosen to be the host country. In part this decision was based on the fact that Addis Ababa is also the seat of the African Union.
Relations with Africa
The first such summit was held in the Indian capital city of New Delhi in 2008, and was intended to be a “door opener” for a systematic improvement of trade and political relations between India and African states. During that summit several initiatives (mostly involving Indian investment in Africa) were agreed between India and it´s African guests.
Currently, India´s bilateral arrangements with African states are estimated to have a total value of around 40 billion USD. Some of the areas of interest for India range from gemstone processing to agriculture and entrepreneurship.
From a capacity building perspective, India has also committed itself to establishing 21 new institutes on the continent. These include, among others, the India-Africa Institute of Foreign Trade (IAIFT), in Uganda; the India-Africa Institute of Information Technology (IAIIT), in Ghana; the India-Africa Diamond Institute, in Botswana; and the India-Africa Institute of Education, Planning and Administration (IAIEPA).
Ethiopian Relations with India
Ethiopia has recently taken several high profile steps in further developing its relations with India. For example, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hailemariam Deselgn met with the Indian Foreign Minister this week in order to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries. Subsequently, a high level meeting was also held between an Ethiopian trade delegation and an Indian trade delegation in Addis Ababa.
Moreover, during the last couple of months, the Ethiopian government has also confirmed its intention to handover hundreds of hectares of land to Indian commercial farmers. This land in turn will be used to produce basic food stuffs for export and consumption in India.