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Jaitley to open India-Africa Cooperation sessions at AfDB meet

IANS | Gandhinagar |

As part of the annual meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB) that begins here from Monday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will open the India-Africa Cooperation sessions to discuss ways of boosting mutual cooperation, industry chamber CII said in a statement here.

The session will cover areas such as trade and investment, agriculture, renewable energy and manufacturing, IT and ITeS, among others, it said. 

This is the first time the AfDB is holding its annual meeting outside the African continent. The five-day meeting will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 23 May.

During the meetings, India is also eyeing cooperation with Africa on the International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiative, of which France and India are the co-chairs. 

Total trade between India and Africa increased almost five-fold between 2005-06 and 2015-16, and stood at $52 billion at the end of the fiscal 2016-17.

India's exports'to Africa increased from $14 billion in 2007-08 to $23 billion in 2016-17, at a compound annual growth rate of 5.6 per cent.

Indian imports from Africa increased from $20 billion in 2007-08 to $28 billion in 2016-17, accounting for 7.5 per cent of total Indian imports.

Heads of states from Benin and Rwanda and other African countries as well as Vice-Presidents from Comoros and Cote d'Ivoire, and AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina are expected to address the sessions. 

The government is also planning an exhibition to showcase the capabilities of Indian companies in terms of technology, innovation, and start-ups, which could be relevant to African countries. 

During the India-Africa Forum Summit 2015, the announcement of $10 billion Line of Credit marked a new beginning in India's approach to engage with African countries in a more constructive manner. 

India joined the African Development Fund in 1982 and the AfDB in 1983, initiating a long history of cooperation spanning over 30 years.