New Delhi: Indiaâ€™s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday pitched for greater cooperation between Asian and African countries to address short and long term challenges in this regard.
Addressing the inaugural function of Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Afri-Asian Rural Development Organisation (AARDO) here today, Singh said: ‘I believe that in the future we will need to tackle the short term and long term environmental challenges that our economies face’.
Exhorting the scientists and experts to reflect on suitable technology to address the issue, Singh said, ‘Our scientists and experts have to reflect on technologies and processes that are most suitable for our rural conditions and circumstances, both in Africa and in Asia.’
Underlining the need for African and Asian countries to work jointly, he said, ‘We have to work together to build a favourable international regime that enables us to access funds and green technologies for rural growth’.
On jointly tackling the issue of climate change, he mentioned, ‘We should put our heads together to work for the best outcomes at the climate change negotiations and the forthcoming Rio+20 conference.’
Noting that three quarters of world’s poor live in Asia and Africa, the Prime Minister said, ‘Rural reconstruction and poverty eradication are fundamental to our plans for sustainable development and inclusive growth.’
‘In pursuing our common goals, we should draw upon our own knowledge, traditions and wisdom. Our scientists and experts have to reflect on technologies and processes that are most suitable for our rural conditions and circumstances’, he said.
He said Afro-Asian Rural Development Organisation has the potential of playing a vital role in ‘Our collective battle against hunger, disease and despair that afflict large segments of our population.’
Singh also stressed India’s full commitment to ideals and objectives of the organisation.
Noting that India has a vision for a partnership with Africa to deal with some of the common challenges of the 21st century, the Prime Minister said agriculture was the first area of cooperation identified under the agreed framework during the India-Africa Forum Summit held in 2008.
‘The thrust of the first phase of cooperation in this sector is on capacity building,’ he said.
Singh referred to the various steps taken by India to boost cooperation between Asia and Africa in the agriculture sector and emphasised the need for more investment in the sector.
‘We should encourage more investment and trade in agriculture between Asia and Africa. For this, the role of the private sector is also important,’ he said.
Singh expressed happiness over the flow of Indian investment into Africa in areas such as agro-processing, agricultural machinery and floriculture.
‘Indian farm technologies and practices are, I believe, quite relevant for African conditions and we should encourage such technology and investment flows. In the health sector too, Indian pharmaceutical companies are helping to combat AIDS in Africa,’ he said.
Singh said India will provide more than 500 new scholarships over the next few years particularly in agricultural sciences.
‘We have earmarked 700 Science fellowships named after the celebrated Indian Nobel Laureate C V Raman for Africa. 150 African students have already been awarded this prestigious fellowship,’ he said.
‘We have approved lines of credit worth nearly USD one billion for projects in rural Africa in the sugar sector, for rural power transmission and purchase of agricultural machinery,’ the Prime Minister said. (KMW NEWS)