President Peter Mutharika’s decision to skip the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit was a double-edged sword. It came in tandem with government’s austerity policy on one hand while reaping the expected fruits following numerous meetings that the President has had with top India government officials.
Mutharika cancelled his trip to India at the eleventh hour due to what his advisers described as part of the austerity measures and instead delegated Chaponda who was accompanied by four Cabinet colleagues, among other delegates
As expected, the delegation returned with good news and the rest is history. The India-Africa Forum Summit was held from October 26 – 29 under the theme “Partners in Progress: Towards a Dynamic and Transformative Development Agenda.”
In attendance were some 28 African Heads of State and Government, 6 Vice Presidents, 6 Prime Ministers, 39 Foreign Ministers, eminent leaders, senior officials, and business leaders from Africa and India.
Though India has promised Africa a huge concessional credit totaling $10 billion in the next five years on top of the already existing Credit Lines, Malawi has rightly been lobbying for her own fair share of the pie, a responsibility that has been gladly taken up by President Mutharika.
Individually, Malawi stands to benefit from another Line of Credit worth $400 million out of which $150 million has been earmarked for water projects in order to improve water shortages in the country.
For immediate release is $23.5 million, originating from the previous Line of Credit that was pledged in 2010.
This amount will be utilized for the Blantyre Water Project. Last month, during his visit to Blantyre Water Board (BWB), President Mutharika promised the city residents of a stable water flow once the India project is finalized within the next three years.
Out of the remaining amount, $50 million will be used for construction and capacity building for Community Technical Colleges that are being spread across the country.
According to the Malawi delegation to the summit, the remaining $200 million will be allocated to projects that will be announced by government not long from now.
Another commitment by India is the establishment of a $5 million industrial incubator whose initial $1 million was already granted.
India says it remains committed to the project and will finalize the disbursement of the remaining amount and conduct their bidding process according to the terms of the deal.
In the health sector, India is expediting the process of sending experts to Malawi to install mammogram machines donated by the Indian government, which will greatly improve breast cancer screening.
Furthermore, India – which produces 85% of the world’s HIV Anti-Retroviral drugs – promised continued efficiency in output and delivery of the commodity to Africa which is the most badly hit area.
Under education sector, India has committed to continued support through scholarships to Malawi technocrats under the India-Africa partnership.
India will provide 50,000 scholarships to Africans, to study in India over the next five years. It will support the expansion of the Pan Africa E-Network and institutions of skills, training and learning across Africa.
Other developments from the summit to the benefit of Malawians is the establishment of India-Africa Institute of Agriculture and Rural Development (IAIARD), an institution which aims at building capacity in areas of micro-finance, financial inclusion, value addition, enterprise development, agriculture insurance, research and innovation and value chain development in livestock, forestry and horticulture.
This will be accommodated at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) The India–Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) is the official platform for evolving negotiations and monitoring parameters of the African-Indian relations.
It was first held in 2008, in New Delhi, India, between fourteen Heads of State chosen by the African Union and the Government of India.
The Second India–Africa Forum Summit was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2011. India Prime Minister, Nerandra Modi, disclosed to the meeting that from now on the summit will take place after every five years. So, the next summit will be held in 2020.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :