India’s continuing outreach to the African nations saw the government organising the14th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnerships earlier this week. The three-day conclave from March 17 to 19 was organised by the commerce ministry in association with Confederation of Indian Industry and the Exim Bank of India. Coinciding with this meet, the government also invited 30 journalists from Africa on a familiarisation visit to India. For many, it was their first visit to the country as they soaked in the sights, sounds and food. Journalists from Kenya and Uganda were surprised to find Indians warm and friendly as they remarked that the Indian diaspora back home had little interaction with the local population despite being there for decades. Some others found the taste of “Indian oil” a bit too overpowering.
The visiting journos not only covered the conclave but were also slated to visit Hyderabad to visit, among other things the National Remote Sensing Centre and an establishment working in the renewable energy sector. The attention on the renewable energy sector is in consonance with New Delhi’s objective of government’s focus on 23 solar energy projects spread in 13 African countries for which it has provided LoCs.
Raveesh Kumar, joint secretary (external publicity) in the ministry of external affairs who hosted a dinner for them said that in the last four-and-a-half years, there have been nearly 29 high-level visits from India to African countries. He also said India has been serious about deepening its relationship with Africa.