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India-Africa summit concluded in New Delhi
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19:32, April 09, 2008

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The first-ever India-Africa Forum Summit is concluded on Wednesday, Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh announced.

The summit adopted two documents, the Delhi Declaration and the Africa-India Framework for Cooperation, with an aim to enhance the "true partnership" to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

The Delhi Declaration is a political document that covers issues of bilateral, regional and international interest to India and Africa, including their common positions on UN reforms, climate change, WTO, anti-terrorism, etc.

India, an aspirant for the permanent membership of UN Security Council, is seeking the crucial support of African countries in bringing about reforms in the world body. India and African countries agreed to "further strengthen cooperation towards early realization of a genuine reform of the United Nations and its working methods, particularly revitalizing and enhancing the role of the General Assembly and reform and expansion of the Security Council."

"Africa takes note of India's position and its aspirations to become a permanent member with full rights in an expanded UN Security Council", the document said.

The Framework for Cooperation covers agreed areas of cooperation in many sectors including education, science and technology, agricultural productivity, food security, industrial growth, infrastructure and the development of the health sector.

African leaders attending the first-ever India-Africa Forum Summit called Wednesday for more concrete measures to forge a closer economic engagement between India and Africa.

In a speech at the two-day summit, Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila said, "Africa needs to meet fundamental needs of its population by building schools, providing housing and generating employment. We need immediate visible projects."

African Union Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare said infrastructure, health, education, science and food security were areas where it wanted Indian know-how. He also urged Africa to shed its image of being a "mere market for raw materials, purchased at low prices."

In his inaugural address, Singh announced Tuesday India will double financial credit to Africa to 5.4 billion dollars in the next five years, and provide preferential market access for exports from all 50 least developed countries, including 34 of Africa.

Singh described Africa as the "land of awakening", adding that the two billion people of India and Africa could set an example of "fruitful partnership."

The India-Africa trade volume has increased by 285 percent to 25 billion U.S. dollars in the last four years. This has raised Africa 's share in India's global trade from 5.8 percent in 2002-03 to 8 percent in 2006-07, according to the latest survey conducted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The two-day India-Africa Forum Summit opened on Tuesday with leaders and delegates from 14 African countries attending. African Union Commission (AU) Chairperson Alpha Oumar Konare represents the AU at the summit.

It aimed at forging a more contemporary partnership in key areas like trade, energy and cooperation, and on global issues like the UN reforms, terrorism and climate change.

Source: Xinhua

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