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India to remain trusted partner of Africa: Ansari

By Hadra Ahmed, IANS,

Addis Ababa (Ethiopia): India will remain a trusted partner of Africa, working with it for the “economic and social empowerment” of its people, Vice President Hamid Ansari said here Sunday.

“Our approach is not intrusive and non-prescriptive but consultative and above all, responsive to Africa’s assessment of its needs,” said Ansari, who is visiting Ethiopia to attend the 50th Golden Jubilee Celebration of African Union (AU).

The event, themed “Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance”, is being attended by about 75 heads of state, including of 54 African countries.

The celebration, which started here Sunday, will include year-long festivities to mark the significance of its establishment.

Ansari said the development partnership between India and Africa has been illuminated by all experience in nation building, reinvigorating and multi-dimensional scope which has today been taken forward under the India-Africa Summit process.

Recalling a 1946 incident, the vice president said India imposed a trade embargo on then apartheid regime in South Africa and took the lead in placing apartheid on the agenda of the UN General Assembly’s first session.

“Six decades back, our engagement with Africa entered the fundamental principles of equality, mutual respect, and mutual benefit that should, we hope, redefine the contours of the international order on more egalitarian lines,” said Ansari who arived here Saturday leading a 40-member delegation.

According to Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom, the relationship between India and Africa is strong and healthy in terms of political, societal and economical aspects.

This has been increasing through time to time and India is now one of the largest investors in Africa, he said.

“Even in Ethiopia, India is one of the three top countries that invest in the country along with Turkey and China,” Adhanom told IANS, adding India is one of the strongest strategic partners for Ethiopia.

“We would like to see that (become) widespread,” he added.

Addressing the opening of the 23rd Ordinary Session of the celebration, Ethiopian Prime Minster and AU chairperson Hailemariam Dessalegn, said the major responsibility of the current and future generations of Africans is to create a continent free from poverty and conflict and an Africa whose citizens would enjoy a higher status of living.

On the opening day of the celebration, African leaders were joined by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, and US Secretary of State John Kerry and many other African and non-African leaders.

(Hadra Ahmed can be contacted at [email protected])