‘Africa and India Need Each Other’

Africa Diary

Tanzania’s High Commissioner to India and Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps in Delhi, H.E. John Kijazi, speaks to Diplomatist Editor-at-Large Alankar Srivastava on a range of issues. Take a look.

Q. Excellency, it’s a pleasure to have you with us. Please tell us about the added responsibilities that come with being the Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps in Delhi.

Being the Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps means that apart from my routine responsibilities of representing my country (Tanzania) in India, I now have some added responsibilities of representing my Colleagues, the African Diplomatic Corps, in collective dealings with the host country on matters of Ceremonial or Administrative character affecting the Corps as a whole.

Discharging these new responsibilities involves fostering close collaboration among my Colleagues, the African Heads of Mission while at the same time working closely with the host Government through the Ministry of External Affairs.

To me, it is indeed a great honour to be bestowed upon with this noble responsibility.

Q. Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a ‘New Partnership for Prosperity’ between India and Africa. What steps do you think are imperative to help realise this?

Africa and India’s close engagement has a long history and has been growing with time. For example, India-Africa trade has multiplied 20 times in the last 15 years and doubled in the last 5 years to reach nearly $72 billion in 2014-15.

Both Africa and India need each other because India has challenges that can be solved by Africa and Africa has challenges that can be solved by India.

The vision of the Prime Minister of India, H.E. Narendra Modi for a ‘New Partnership for Prosperity’ between India and Africa can be realised through strengthening the already existing multifaceted partnership between Africa and India based on the principles of equality, friendship, mutual benefit and solidarity.

Specifically, as jointly agreed between Africa and India during the Third India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS III) held in New Delhi on October 29, 2015, the New Partnership encompasses the enhancement of cooperation between India and Africa in the following Socio-Economic Sectors:

Trade & Industry, Investment, Agriculture, Infrastructure, Blue/Ocean Economy, Energy/Renewable Energy, Healthcare, Education, Skills Development and Capacity Building, Establishment of various disciplines Institutions, Women Empowerment, People-to-People contacts.

The announcement by the Government of India during the IAFS III that it will avail to Africa concessional credit of $10 billion and Grant Funds amounting to $600 mn over the next 5 years for implementing various projects and programmes is testimony to the growing partnership between India and Africa.

Q. Share your perspective on the Indian model of engagement with Africa and the ‘very different’ Chinese economic approach to Africa.

Africa views both India and China as major and high priority Diplomatic and Socio-Economic Partners. Africa cooperates with several partners globally and the ‘models’ of engagement differ from partner to partner. There is no one universal ‘model’ adopted by Africa as the standard one for cooperation between Africa and all her Cooperation Partners, each Partner has a unique ‘“model’. What Africa requires is partnership that is not built on exploitative approaches but rather on the needs and strengths of both cooperating partners.

While the approaches in engaging with Africa may be different between China and India, it is a fact that both do a lot of Trade and Investment with Africa and they both do offer Concessional Lines of Credit and Grant Funds to Africa for implementing the jointly agreed projects and programmes.

Q. Where does the bilateral relation between India and Tanzania stand? With India being a leading trade partner of Tanzania, enlighten us on the commercial and economic relations between the two countries.

Tanzania and India have excellent traditional ties of friendship which originate since the pre-independence times. While in the past, the relationship was focused on strengthening Political Solidarity and was driven by the shared ideological commitments to anti-colonialism, anti-racism, non-alignment, etc, in recent times there has been more emphasis and increase in Socio-Economic and Technical Cooperation between the two countries.

While the Political Cooperation between the two countries remains robust, today Trade, Investment and Tourism between the two countries are on the increase. For example, while the Total Trade Volume between the two countries during the year 2000/01 was only $162.03 mn, the Total Trade Volume increased to about $4 billion by the year 2014. As of January 2015, India ranked as the 4th top Investing Country in Tanzania and India is among the top 10 countries with the highest number of Tourists visiting Tanzania.

Today, various Projects and Programmes have been or are being implemented in Tanzania through the support of the Government of India Line of Credit (LOC) Facility or Grant Funds. Notably since the year 2009 up to now, Tanzania has benefitted from the Government of India LOC facility by accessing a total of $523.035 mn for implementing various projects.

India also offers about 400 scholarships slots annually to Tanzania for training in different fields. There are many examples of successful Cooperation Programs and Projects.

In short, the Bilateral, Political, Diplomatic and Socio-Economic Relations between India and Tanzania are excellent.

Q. Highlight the importance of cultural diplomacy in international relations.

A. Cultural Diplomacy is Public Diplomacy that includes the exchange of ideas, information, art and other aspects of Culture among nations and their People in order to foster mutual understanding.

Cultural Diplomacy helps a Nation to better understand the other Foreign Nation it is engaged with. Ultimately, Cultural Diplomacy helps to influence a Foreign Audience and use that influence as a goodwill reserve to win support of that Foreign Nation to:

• Have a positive view of the Country’s people;

• Induce greater cooperation between the two Nations;

• Help in Changing the Policies or Political environment of the target Nation;

• Prevent, manage and mitigate conflict with the target Nation.

Generally, Cultural Diplomacy is more focused on longer term influence with subsequent possible Economic benefits such as increase in Tourism and Commercial activities between Nations.

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