India signs deal to build training centres in Africa


India has signed an agreement with the African Union to build training centres throughout the continent, a day before a joint summit aimed at striking deeper economic ties. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh began a six-day trip to Africa in Ethiopia on Monday pledging development support in exchange for trade agreements to fuel growth in India’s resource-intensive economy.

The premier will take part in the second India-Africa summit before heading to Tanzania on Thursday. “We intend to continue and further enrich our development cooperation with our African partners,” India’s Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna said during a meeting of ministers at the continental body’s headquarters.
“In this regard, I am glad to inform that we would be signing today memoranda of understanding to establish fourteen capacity-building institutions in various member states of the African Union,” he said. Two vocational training centres will be built in each of Africa’s five regions, as well as institutions of foreign trade, information technology, education and diamond research, the AU said.

Singh is expected to announce new lines of credit to African nations totalling around $600 million.

Rival emerging economies India and China are scouring the globe to secure energy resources, minerals and food. Both are keen to stress to African nations that they are more than just trade partners and want to help the continent develop.

Both nations are also trying to extend their influence in Africa as they emerge as economic powers and appear keener to flex their diplomatic muscle.

India is trying to increase it presence on the continent as well as get African support for its bid for a permanent place on the UN Security Council, as the body is reformed to include emerging powers and developing nations.