Focus on effectiveness and sustainability of development cooperation: WTO expert
World Trade Organization's Development Division Director Shishir Priyadarshi on Monday stated that the two key dimensions to development cooperation is its effectiveness and sustainability, and added that emphasis should be given to these two.
"Governmental support should act as a catalyst but we need to ensure the sustainability of development cooperation," Shishir said while addressing the session on 'India Development Cooperation Initiatives - The Road Ahead' held on Day 2 of the 10th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India Africa Project Partnership being organised in New Delhi. Giving a brief outline of the government's development programme for developing economies, especially in Africa, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Joint Secretary Alok Kumar Sinha said: "Our Technical and Economic Cooperation programme, popularly known as ITEC launched in the 1960s, is completing its 50 years this year. Under this programme, a large number of professionals in Africa have been trained in diverse fields including IT, telecommunication, agro-processing and other areas. In addition, special programmes have also been organised on the request of various countries in specific areas of interest." "In the recent past we have moved from conducting training programme to developing institutions of excellence in African countries in various areas. Two important strands have been added to the capacity building initiatives -- the extension of concessional lines of credit to developing countries, particularly in Africa, which would help them to import goods and services from India and undertake projects of infrastructure development, and building capacity in accordance with the development priorities identified by the recipient countries. Since its launch in 2004, we have extended more than 200 lines of credit worth about USD 10 billion and out of this more than 60 per cent, about USD 6.5 billion, has been extended to countries in Africa," Sinha added. He cited the example of Mozambique and Ethiopia, the largest recipient of the Lines of Credit from India. Sinha said that the third strand of the development partnership initiative is project assistance.
"This is an assistance programme to implement specific projects in various countries in priority areas as required by them," he added.
Armando Inroga, Minister of Trade & Industry, Mozambique, said that his country was one of the fastest developing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa with 7.5 per cent GDP growth in the last 20 years.
"India has become one of the top 10 investors in Mozambique in the last five years. Bilateral cooperation has been growing and reinforced in areas like science and technology, agriculture, mineral resources, iron ores and housing," Inroga said while highlighting that the way forward for India-Mozambique bilateral cooperation would be in the areas of poverty reduction, skill development, etc.
Randso Mwadiwa, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Government of Malawi, however highlighted some of the specific areas that need attention.
He said that although the concessional lines of credit extended by India have helped this country, the condition that 30 percent material should be bought from India needed to be revised.
"We also need to increase the Lines of Credit," he added.
Alie B Mansaray, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Sierra Leone, said that his country is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa with an average 6.2 per cent GDP growth.
He said that Indian companies are increasing that footprint in Sierra Leone and that India could play a key role in the country's effort to become a mid-income economy by year 2035.
He cited energy, agriculture, fishery and IT as the most promising areas for India-Sierra Leone bilateral trade and investments.
(Posted on 11-03-2014)