India and Rwanda have inked three agreements in the fields of innovation, aviation and visa requirements to boost bilateral relations.
These agreements were signed in Kigali in the presence of Vice President Mohammed Hamid Ansari and Rwandan Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi during a business forum meet. Vice President is the first Indian leader to officially visit Rwanda. He launched India-Rwanda innovation growth programme.
Three important agreements signed are
- Bilateral air service agreement between two countries.
- Agreement for exemption of visa requirements for diplomatic and service passports.
- Agreement for establishment of an Entrepreneurship Development Centre in Rwanda duly financed by India,
Vice President Hamid Ansari visited Rwanda on the first leg of his 2-nation visit to East Africa. Later he will travel to Uganda, the second leg of his tour to another East African country. Both Rwanda and Uganda are important from India’s viewpoint of trade, especially in the pharmaceuticals, automobiles, mechanical appliances and machinery sectors. Since 2012, India’s trade with Rwanda has doubled and it is one of Uganda’s largest trading partners and largest investors.
- India is key partner of African nations in the 1950s and 1960s. However in the past decade, India lost influence in Africa to China and other Asian nations.
- In recent years, India is seeking to broaden its general outreach to resource-rich Africa and establish its footprint in sub-Saharan Africa.
- India has positioned itself as a partner of choice to African countries in areas such as education, healthcare, investment and trade.
- In 2014-15, India-Africa trade was almost $70 billion and Indian investments in Africa in the past decade was amounted to $30-35 billion.
- The figures, however, are low in comparison with the Africa’s trade and investment ties with China which is around $200 billion. China has built large infrastructure projects like roads, railways, airports and government buildings in Africa.
- Together, President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vice President Ansari have visited 12 African nations in 2016.
- This was in keeping with PM Modi’s promise to maintain the tempo of interaction with Africa, made to leaders to 54 African nations during the 3rd India-Africa summit in New Delhi in October 2015.