India-Africa: New Delhi no longer wants to be a spectator on the continent

#Senegal : The Vice President of India, Venkaiah Naidu, arrives Monday, 30 May 2022 in Gabon as part of a mini-tour of Africa that will also take him to Senegal. The goal is clear: to give a “new impetus” to the Asian giant’s relationship with Africa.

Accompanied by a delegation including India’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Bharati Pravin Pawar, and three members of parliament, Venkaiah Naidu was greeted on arrival in Libreville by Gabon Prime Minister Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda and Gabon Foreign Minister Michael Moussa Adamo. The latter also conducted interviews Tuesday morning with Indian officials.

Continuing his Gabon trip, the Vice President of India was also received by President Ali Bongo Ondimba. During this meeting, Naidu assured Gabon’s head of state that “India attaches great importance to its relations” with the Central African nation, before “reiterating the Indian government’s commitment to be a reliable partner of Gabon on its journey to development”.

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Indian officials and their delegation also held talks, still in Libreville, with the Prime Minister of Gabon, Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda and his team, as well as with the President of the National Assembly, Faustin Boukoubi, and the President of the Senate, Lucie Milebou Aubusson. To the head of government of Gabon, the vice president of India expressed India’s readiness to cooperate with Gabon in order to expand cooperation in various fields to further strengthen and expand bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation.

Naidu will fly on June 1 to Senegal, where he will meet Head of State Macky Sall, as well as the current President of the African Union, as well as the President of the National Assembly, Moustapha Niasse. Indian number 2 must also, as during his stay in Gabon, take part in business meetings and will deliver speeches to the Indian community in Senegal.

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The vice president of India’s mini-Africa tour comes at a time when his country is considered the only country in the world that should record economic growth above 8% by 2022. And this visit to Gabon and Senegal, the first by a high-ranking Indian official in the country -this country, has a clear goal, which is to “give a new impetus to India’s relations with Africa and highlight India’s commitment to the African continent”, underscoring vice President from the Asian giant, which has a diaspora of an estimated 3 million members on our continent.

India, already Africa’s second-largest trading partner, with trade estimated to reach $70 billion by 2020, is now showing even greater ambition on the continent, especially in key areas. Indeed, Venkaiah Naidu’s visit comes a week after the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, announced, through its CEO Adar Poonawalla, its intention to set up an industrial unit in Africa.

Serena Hoyles

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