Western African Country Current Affairs - 2020

India-Africa Defence Ministers Conclave at DefExpo for first time

For the first time, in the history of DefExpo, India and Africa are to discuss their defence relations. The India-Africa Defence Conclave is to be held on February 6, 2020. Around 24 Defence Ministers are to participate in the conclave.

Highlights

India’s largest Defence Exhibition is to be held in Lucknow between February 5, 2020 and February 8, 2020. During the exhibition, India showcases its existing and new defence technologies to the world. As a part of the event, the India-Africa Defence Conclave is to be held.

This year more than 1000 companies have registered at the Defexpo. Last year, when the Defexpo was held in Chennai, around 702 companies had registered.

India-Africa

So far, the eastern and Southern African countries alone have shown interests in defence ties with India. However, the novelty of this conclave is that the western African countries are expected to come forward.

India has so far partnered with Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana, Botswana, Ethiopia, Namibia, Mozambique and Uganda in Defence sector. India has helped several African countries to set up their military post-Colonial rule. India had set up defence college in Nigeria, military academy in Ethiopia, air force in Ghana.

Highlights: President Ram Nath Kovind Visit to Benin

President Ram Nath Kovind arrived in Benin at Cardinal Bernadine de Cotonou International Airport in Cotonou, the largest city in the West African country. This visit is part of first leg of his 3 nations’ tour to West African region which includes Gambia and Guinea from July 28 to August 3. This is first visit by either a head of state or head of government to three West African countries.

This is the 23rd country to be visited by President Kovind during his Presidential tenure till now.

Key Highlights

President Kovind held talks with his Beninese counterpart Patrice Talon. He also traveled to Porto Novo, the seat of Beninese Parliament.

In a special honour extended to India by Benin, President Kovind addressed National Assembly in Benin.

He also met members of Indian community at a reception hosted in his honour in Cotonou.

Significance: The visit is expected to reinvigorate and give new direction to India’s ties with three countries.

India-Benin

Transformative growth of India and natural strengths of Benin complement each other.

In last 10 years, India-Benin bilateral trade has risen from $350 million over $800 million thus India has become Benin’s largest trading partner.

India’s duty free tariff preference scheme has helped Benin’s exports grow by more than 68% in 2018 to reach $376 million.

Various MoUs and Agreements were signed during President Kovind’s visit include-

India offered $100 million line of credit to Benin for its development projects.

India offered further training assistance to Benin to expand its anti-piracy capacity.

Both countries agreed to work together to combat climate change through International Solar Alliance.

Both countries showed commitment towards taking development partnership forward by signing of country agreement for Benin to avail various initiatives by India such as tele-medicine initiativee-Arogyabharati and tele-education programme– e-Vidyabharati.

India also extended free tele-education courses to over 15,000 Beninese students and tele-medicine courses to 1,000 doctors and paramedics in Africa.