We attach utmost priority to India-Africa partnership, says Vice President

New Delhi: The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today reiterated that India believes the progress of the world is contingent on the development of the Global South and that ‘we attach utmost priority to the India-Africa relationship’.

The Vice President, who is on a three-nation tour of Gabon, Senegal and Qatar, was addressing the business community at the India-Gabon Business event in Libreville, Gabon yesterday. Speaking about India’s growing economic relationship with Africa, he said that ‘India’s own vision of cooperation with Africa will increasingly center around health, digital and green growth. And this is so because we believe that these are Africa’s priorities as well’.

Shri Naidu noted that India-Gabon bilateral trade has crossed US$ 1 billion mark in 2021-22 despite the pandemic and that India is now the 2nd largest destination for Gabonese exports. He also noted the presence of several Indian companies in diverse sectors such as Oil & Gas, Mining, pharmaceuticals, wood processing, etc, especially in the Gabon Special Economic Zone (GSEZ). Earlier today, Shri Naidu visited the Gabon Special Economic Zone (GSEZ) and witnessed the facilities and interacted with the Indian entrepreneurs there.

The Vice President addressing the India-Gabon Business Forum in Libreville, Gabon on 31st May 2022

Touching on energy cooperation, the Vice President said that Gabon is an important partner for India’s energy security requirement, and observed that India imported about US$ 670 million worth crude oil from Gabon in 2021-22. He said that there is significant potential for diversifying India-Gabon engagement in oil & gas sector by enhancing cooperation in both upstream and downstream domains.

Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, who is also a part of the official delegation, addressed the business community and called for further exploring India-Gabon cooperation in green energy, services, health, and agriculture among other sectors. She suggested that India and Gabon should broad base their economic partnership and harness the complementarities in their economy to attract investments. “A lot more can be done together if we identify the core strengths and possible pathways for collaboration”, Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar added.

After the business event, Shri Naidu was hosted by the Indian diaspora community at a reception organised on the occasion of his visit. Addressing the gathering, Shri Naidu expressed pleasure that a small but significant Indian diaspora have been making significant contribution in various fields in Gabon.

The Vice President addressing the Indian diaspora community in Libreville, Gabon on 31st May 2022

The Vice President observed that the 30- million strong Indian diaspora around the world have been playing a significant role in shaping India’s foreign policy. He said the success of the Indian community overseas has dramatically changed the world’s perception of Indians and India. He reiterated that India’s priority is to build “everlasting links with the Indian diaspora across globe, and create appropriate channels and mechanisms for these talented and resourceful minds to effectively contribute in shaping a New India”.