India-Africa Current Affairs

India, Somali sign agreement on transfer of sentenced persons

India and Somalia have signed an agreement for transfer of sentenced prisoners in each other’s country. The agreement was signed in New Delhi during the ongoing visit of the Somalia’s Foreign Minister to India.

During the visit, both countries discussed entire gamut of bilateral relations, including the issue of piracy and maritime security. They also discussed regional issues pertaining to developments in the Gulf region and India’s neighbourhood.

The agreement opens a new front for collaboration in anti-piracy operation in Eastern Africa as the incidents of piracy originating from Somalia have affected Indian interests in the Indian Ocean region near the Horn of Africa.

Background

Somalia is situated near the Horn of Africa with the Gulf of Aden to its north. It is among the partner countries of India’s Pan African e-Network project. India-Somalia bilateral trade stood at $391.05 million in 2014-15, a more than 51% increase over the figure of $257.27 million in 2013-14.

Diplomatic contacts between India and Somalia have been infrequent, however, Somalia had participated in the 2015 India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi. Somalia plays important role in containing China’s presence in Indian Ocean region. China opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti. Somalia shares border with Djibouti on the west.

India also offers Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) training scholarships and Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) scholarships to Somalia. In recent years, India also has extended development assistance which included mini buses to the war-battered country.

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India, Rwanda sign MoUs in innovation, aviation and visa requirements

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,
Background

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-Africa Relations

  • 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.

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