New Delhi: Ready to share their natural resources, African countries on Tuesday sought greater Indian investments, particularly from the private sector, to boost economic growth in the continent.
Addressing the first-ever India-Africa Forum Summit here, leaders and heads of state from the African continent said they were open to private investments.
“Africa needs to meet fundamental needs of its population by building schools, providing housing and generating employment,” Joseph Kabila Kabange, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, said.
In an apparent reference to the international attention to the natural resources-rich continent, he said Africa needed “concrete action” and not mere assurances for developing the region.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and African Union Chairman Prof Alpha Oumarkonare (white cap) pose for a group photo with other dignitaries at the inaugural session of India-Africa Forum Summit 2008, in New Delhi on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)
“Words, speeches and promises have remained mere words, we need immediate visible projects,” he said.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said most African countries have rectified their age-old mistake of rejecting private investments and had also learnt to put up a joint front in dealing with trade issues.
He sought Indian investments and technologies to develop the infrastructure in Africa, particularly in the field of railways and power generation.
Speaking about food security, he said while the world was facing acute shortage of foodgrains, his country has the commodity in ample quantity.
Lauding India’s progress in the information technology, Ghana’s President John Kufour said Africa is keen for the development in the area of science and technology.
He hoped that the India-Africa Forum will be used for developing the continent’s human resources, building institutions and deepening of economic ties.
“There are immense opportunities for cooperation. We want to deal on the basis of win-win policy for mutual benefit,” African Union Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare said.
Complaining that several promises in the past had not been fulfilled, he said “we are not begging...We don’t want cosmetic attitude but real funding” for development and democratisation of Africa.
“India can be a major contributor to ensure Asia-Africa togetherness and resurgence,” Konare said.
South African President Thabo Mbeki hailed the Indian announcement on duty free market access, saying it will have extensive benefit for Africa.
Senegalese President Maitre Abdoulaye Wade said Africa will “seize the opportunity to turn a new chapter in trade”.
Zambian Vice President Ruypiah Banda sought investments in agro-processing and light engineering sectors.