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This is my diary....what I make sense of, around me. You'll find short prose on contemporary topics that interest me. What can you expect - Best adjectives? …. hmm occasionally, tossed around flowery verbs ?…. Nope, haiku-like super-brevity? … I try to. Thanks for dropping by & hope to see you again

March 1, 2009

India –Africa Bhai Bhai

No,I am not reinventing the jingoism of the Nehruvian panchasheel era but expressing the genuine bonhomie that can be seen between the 2 continental landmasses of late . Africa-India summit in New Delhi, April 2008 and the India-Africa Business partnership summit during 19-20 January 2009 in New Delhi are barometers of this growing affinity that may be partly driven by shared history and partly due to geopolitical alignments that are taking shape.

I attended the latter event recently and got to hobnob and interact with about 250 delegates from 32 countries in Africa. I interacted with several delegates among them in the B2B meetings & conference sidelines and learnt a great deal to share & learn from them. The beauty of such international conferences is that you get to meet people of diverse cultures & backgrounds (even in Africa!) and is quite an experience. Africa is emerging out of its darkness and politicians & mandarins alike opined that the time in History has come for it along with sub continental India to take their rightful place among the comity of nations. MoS for external affairs Anand Sharma made quite a learned & thought provoking speech on the occasion, quite a refreshing change for the dull & drab neta’s that you usually see in such circuits in the Capitol Hill.

India’s famed progress in IT doesn’t quite excite the Africans’ for they are still struggling on basic agenda pertaining to Education, Food, Energy & Health care. Most of the delegates echoed their need for proper hospitals, energy equipments, food processing industry & Infrastructure support like roads and bridges. And there were plenty of Indian companies in the conference waiting to offer them.
Interacting with them dawned upon me small nuggets of wisdom like a few below
• Ethiopians are the closest to Indians in cultural semblance, their music shows great affinity to Indian music.
• Kenyans are generally not great marathoners as generally believed, it all boils down to one tribe called ‘Kalenjins’ which lives on high altitude areas in Kenya.
• Knowing French is one of the easier gateways to quickly deal & settle down for business with many African nations

I also came across a lot of Businessmen of Indian origin who have ventured deep into the Dark Continent and into countries like Rwanda, Burundi, & Cape Verde. And they are doing well going by the feedback of their African counterparts.

1 comment:

ShastriX said...

Thanks for sharing this, Vaz.

I recall a recent interview with the very charismatic Dr. Devi Shetty in which he was saying that Africa can use telemedicine to bring health care within reach of all.

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