Indian vice president attends AU golden jubilee function

Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), May 25 (IANS) Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari Saturday participated in the golden jubilee celebrations of the African Union at Addis Ababa that is being attended by around 75 heads of state, including of 54 African countries.

Ansari met Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who is chairperson of the AU, on the sidelines of the summit.

The Indian vice president took part in a debate on Pan-Africanism and African renaissance.

He also met Nkosazana Diamini-Zuma, chairperson of the AU Commission.

Besides India, the other select partners invited for the summit of the top African leadership include the US, the European Union, France, Brazil, Russia, China, Jamaica, Palestine and the UAE.

"India's relations with Africa are rooted in history... India's engagement with Africa has come a long way and today we have built a new template for partnership in the form of the India-Africa Forum Summit. Our partnership is guided by the vision and promise of our African partners of their priorities," an Indian ministry of external affairs official said ahead of the visit.

India assists Africa in charting its course through institution building, infrastructure development, technical and vocational skill development. India is undertaking approximately about 100 national or regional or sub-regional projects of various kinds in Africa.

The Pan African E-Network for Telemedicine and Tele-education which covers a span of 47 countries is a "major success story" of India's institution building partnership with Africa, the official has said.

There are about 6,500 Indian soldiers involved in peacekeeping on the African continent.

India-Africa trade in 2012 stood at approximately $70 billion and the target is to reach $90 billion by 2015. India has extended non-reciprocal duty-free tariff preference scheme for 33 Least Developed Countries in Africa. Indian investment in Africa since 2005 is approximately $47 billion.

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