NEW DELHI: India is planning to unveil its Africa plan in Hamburg, a port city in northern Germany, next month. The documents accessed by The Sunday Standard reveal that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the G20 meeting on July 7-8 to discuss international cooperation on financial and economic issues. But what is happening behind the scene just days before the summit is the strategic manoeuvering, which is being played to restore India’s influence especially in 17 countries across north and southern Africa that are facing the worst drought.
“India will send food support with items such as wheat and rice to the African countries facing persistent drought. It is likely to send a team of experts on water harvesting and conservation to propagate integrated water management projects in drought hit areas and also deploying a team of scientists to promote drought resistant varieties of crops in Africa,” the Finance Ministry’s document revealed.
Top officials said some of these steps could be taken before Prime Minister Modi attends the G20 summit in July. According to reports the drought has affected over 38 million people in 17 countries. Ethiopia, Somalia, Burundi, Malawi and Sudan has been facing food and water crisis. On April 27-28, G20 officials met in Berlin to discuss ‘One World No Hunger: Future of Rural World.’ Basically, the meeting was convened to discuss food security and rural employment largely in the context of Africa. In that region alone, an additional 440 million young people will be joining an already highly competitive labour market between now and 2030, most of them in rural areas.
The German representative in the meeting requested an Indian official to engage more with African countries to enable them to come out of poverty since India has made significant progress in reducing the social evil.
Once the conference got over, Multilateral Relation Division within the Ministry of Finance stepped in to initiate the process to implement India’s Africa plan. There is also a possibility that the government may send a team of National Resource Organizations working under the umbrella of National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) to explore possibilities of promotion of women’s self help groups. India is likely to select self help group members from African nations and train them in Indian institutions and incubation centres on climate resilient agriculture with dairy and other vocations to diversify livelihood portfolios in African countries.
Sources said the government departments have been asked to work out the blueprint for execution and subsequently the Finance Ministry will approach Ministry of External Affairs and the Prime Minister Office (PMO) to take a final view on the subject within next week.