India-Africa Summit:Forging A Common Destiny

lejeune-mbella-mbella-au-sommet-afrique-inde By Richard KWANG, Cameroon Tribune
Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting grouping India and her African partners officially opened on 27 October 2015 in New Delhi.
The Heads of State and Government from Africa or their representatives who are in New Delhi, for the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) will have two draft documents
to approve as they meet this 29 October 2015 to examine ways of facing issues that affect their people. One is called a Draft Political Declaration and the other, the Africa-India Framework for Strategic Cooperation. Experts from the African continent and their Indian colleagues met in New Delhi on Monday 26 October to fine-tune the documents which the Cameroon Minister of External Relations, Lejeune Mbella Mbella taking the floor in the 4th position yesterday 27 October 2015 qualified the draft as excellent.
Having as theme, “Reinvigorated Partnership, Shared Vision,” the IAFS which is the most representative ever in terms of representation and participation is out to reassert Africa and India on the global stage as they both look for solutions to their common problems. The Minister of External Affairs of India, Sushma-Swaraj who co-chaired the opening ceremony of the Foreign Affairs Ministers with his colleague from Zimbabwe,  Simbarashe Mumbengegwi outlined some of the concerns that India and Africa face saying their historical ties and common challenges warrant that they work collectively in order to meet global challenges. Most foreign Ministers who took turns to speak at the opening ceremony noted that since the first summit in India in 2008 and the second in Addis Ababa in 2011 their gatherings have been “a celebration of the close partnership between Africa and India. It is an acknowledgement of our shared history as well as our future prospects. From our struggle against colonialism and apartheid, we have emerged to jointly accept the challenges of a globalizing world,” they argued. They equally agreed that financing for development is critical in pushing forward their common ambitions and in ensuring better living conditions for the over two billion inhabitants of India and Africa.
Their exclusion from major world decision-making structures like the United Nations Security Council has been another issue echoed by most speakers at the opening session of the Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting in New Delhi . From Algeria, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, South Africa, Cameroon and others all the Foreign Affairs Ministers expressed the determination of their countries to press harder for the voice of Africa and India to be taken into consideration as they constitute about a third of the world’s population and can no longer wait and watch others decide for them.
While recalling the development platforms that President Paul Biya has embarked on in Cameroon like the construction of roads, transport facilities, energy and other infrastructure, Minister Lejeune Mbella Mbella pointed to the global challenge of terrorism which he said is holding back development and progress in India and Africa. He cited the case of Boko Haram extremists now wreaking havoc in Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon saying such retrograde forces require a multilateral approach to be stifled.
All parties hope that consultations at the highest political levels will give a new thrust to their age-old partnership by providing opportunities to redefine the future together.
Meeting at the Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex in New Delhi, the Foreign Affairs Ministers after the official opening ceremony also had bilateral discussions with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of India to look at issues relating to their specific countries and India. Within that context, Minister Lejeune Mbella Mbella of Cameroon met Honourable Ms Sushma-Swaraj at 15:22 PM local time (10:40 AM in Cameroon).
In all, trade, telecommunications, agriculture, education, healthcare, climate change, blue economy, investments, technological development are some of the topics that figure prominently on the agenda of the summit which continues today with the Foreign Ministers finalizing the draft documents for adoption by the Heads of State and Government tomorrow.


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