India’s foreign trade institute to set up shop in Uganda

By Gyanendra Kumar Keshri, IANS,

New Delhi : The government-run Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) is setting up its first overseas campus in Uganda to assist students of African nations understand the nuances of globalisation and capacity-building in the continent.

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“We are setting up a full-fledged institution like the IIFT in Kampala. It will be our first full-fledged overseas campus. The Ugandan government will provide physical infrastructure,” said IIFT director K.T. Chacko.

“We have already signed the agreement. Things are moving fast. We will start with some executive programmes by the end of this calendar year, hopefully from November,” Chacko told IANS.

The new institute, named India-Africa Institute of Foreign Trade (IAIFT), is being set up as a part of the Indian government’s initiative to help develop a higher education system in African countries in specialised fields.

“Initially, for five-six years the institute will be run by IIFT. After that we will hand over the institute to Uganda’s own management structure,” IIFT director said.

He said the Indian government, through IIFT, would bear the cost of all soft infrastructure like faculty, library set-up and expenses on information and communication technologies required for running the institute.

“It will be a pan-Africa institute-part of India’s commitment for capacity-building in Africa.”

Established in 1963 by the government of India, IIFT runs some specialised programmes in collaboration with foreign institutions, but it has no full-fledged overseas campus in any country.

The institute offers a two-year master’s degree in international business and a one-and-a-half year executive master’s degree in the same stream in collaboration with Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania-based Institute of Financial Management.

Headquartered in New Delhi, it also has a campus in Kolkata. Apart from the full-time masters in business management courses, the institute also offers part-time management courses and short-term diploma programmes for executives.

Asked what courses will be offered from Kampala campus, IIFT director said: “We have not worked it out yet. But there will be a number of courses, mostly on the same lines as we are offering here.”

During the India-Africa Forum Summit in 2008, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced that India would help establish 19 educational institutions in Africa. IIFT is one of them and the African Union wanted it to be set up in Kampala.

(Gyanendra Kumar Keshri can be contacted at [email protected] and [email protected])