India-Africa Forum Summits and Capacity Building: Achievements and Challenges

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This study attempts to assess the perceptible or real impacts of the pledges made at the high level India-Africa Forum Summits towards building human capabilities, in recipient countries in Africa. Ensconced within the theoretical frameworks of South-South Cooperation and South-South Development Cooperation, this study affirms that international cooperation between India and Africa goes beyond aid. It includes inter alia, the sharing of development experiences for building human and physical infrastructural capabilities in Africa. Training programmes and the implementation of capacity building institutions are being set up, based on requests from partner countries. Evidently there has been a mixed response to these endeavours. This study analyses the causes for the time lapse between the commitments made at the first two editions of the forum summits and the delayed implementation of the capacity building initiatives on the ground. The tardy implementation of mutually agreed upon projects obfuscates the agenda of development cooperation between India and Africa. The ongoing stock taking and proactive efforts by India and recipient countries in Africa towards completing the long pending institutions and schemes will further enhance the efficacy and credibility of South-South Development Cooperation between India and Africa.

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India and Africa share a long history of amicable political relations, which has led a partnership of diversified functionality and economic association between the two regions. The three India-Africa Forum Summits dispersed over the first two decades of the twenty-first century have strengthened India-Africa cooperation significantly. The framework of cooperation adopted at the inaugural India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-I) as well as the framework of enhanced cooperation adopted at the subsequent forum summit, just three years later, positioned agriculture at the top of the list of India-Africa collaborations. Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme has led bilateral efforts in a variety of fields and provided the framework for India’s foreign policy engagement with the developing countries, including those in Africa. Under ITEC’s sister programme, the Special Commonwealth African Assistance Program (SCAAP), several African countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Malawi, Tanzania, etc. are invited to share in Indian developmental experiences and technologies. India and Africa share mutually beneficial opportunities available for Government-to-Government (G2G) and Business-to-Government (B2G) cooperation in the field of sustainable agriculture. Initiatives under the ITEC programme and the IAFS processes aim to harness this complementarity and improve the standards of production, consumption, and input technology, as well as the acquisition and channelling of foreign direct investment (FDI) and technology from private investors into Africa.
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