Live: Africa Day session at Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2019January 19, 2019
Gandhinagar: Africa Day is being held at Mahatma Mandir here as part of Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2019 in the presence of Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda, Union minister of external affairs Smt Sushma Swaraj, Chief Minister of Gujarat Vijay Rupani among others.
Sushma Swaraj’s speech
Sushma Swaraj ji, Hon’ble Minister of External Affairs,
Esteemed dignitaries on dais,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honoured to address the distinguished guests at the inauguration of Africa Day, under Vibrant Gujarat 2019 banner.
India and Africa, share a time-tested and special bond. Both regions were indigenous civilizations with rich heritage, culture and values.
Gujarat’s historic relations with African Continent, in trade, commerce and culture, have gone into a sustainable partnerships over the years.
Gujarat has a long coastline with close proximity to African coast. This attracted Gujaratis to migrate to Africa for Trade, Commerce and cultural exchange centuries back.
Sizeable population of Gujaratis have long settled in countries like South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda etc. and are actively contributing to their economic growth.
Similarly, Gujarat is home to thousands of Indians of African origin – the Sidis, for more than six centuries. Sidi Community has contributed to Vibrant history and culture of Saurashtra region of Gujarat.
Another important historical link with Africa is Mahatma Gandhi – Father of our Nation. Mahatma Gandhi developed non-violent civil resistance movement – the Satyagraha movement on Africa soil. This movement became the common force behind the freedom struggle both in India and Africa.
This movement left a strong imprint on succeeding generations of African leaders. It paved the way for our destinies.
Today, I extend a special welcome to all of you to the land of the Mahatma Gandhi, on behalf of 65 million Gujaratis.
It is against this historic background that we are dedicating this day as ‘Africa day’ to mark our long standing partnership and cooperation.
Friends, I am happy to note that 50 countries out of 54, from the African Continent are represented here today. It is a massive demonstration of the ties of diplomacy, commerce and friendship linking our nations.
After independence, both India and Africa faced similar challenges like poverty, malnutrition and weak economic growth. Today, we are overcoming these challenges through new initiatives and innovative policies.
Today, due to initiatives of our Hon. Prime Minister, India has emerged as the fastest growing economy of the world. Similarly, according to IMF, 11 of the world’s fastest growing economies today are in Africa.
By 2020, India and Africa together will account for 2.5 billion people. This will provide a huge market, working man-power and new opportunities. African continent, with large untapped natural resources and its close proximity to Indian sea coast, opens up new areas in economic development arena.
Friends, India’s Private and Public Sector enterprises have invested in African Continent. Recently, it has gained a changed momentum. They have invested in Sectors like automobile, engineering, chemical, IT, Telecom, Pharmaceuticals and Oil& Gas in many African countries.
Friends, today we have put together Indian companies with expertise in these designated areas. I am sure this platform will provide you an opportunity to see how this expertise could meet the requirements of African countries.
To my friends from the Indian industry present here – I would say – Africa today represents an enormous opportunity in economic cooperation and collaboration – A continent of 54 countries with a population of over a billion people.
Gujarat, known as the growth engine of India, is the fastest growing State in India. On this Africa day event, I would request, Gujarati companies active in Africa, to invest more in Africa.
Friends, India – Africa partnership is based on strong political commitment and an economic engagement which is symbolic and fraternal. I wish that this vision would be accomplished in this Africa-day event. Gujarat feels proud to be a part of this initiative.
In the end, I would request all of you to pay a visit to “Statue of Unity” – world’s largest statue. This iconic structure was a vision of our Hon. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, dedicated to our leader Late Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. You will witness the architecture marvel of our engineers and grandeur of the Statue.
Thank you. Wish you a pleasant stay in Gujarat.
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