Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) organized the "3rd African Ambassadors Interactive Round Table Forum" on August 21, 2014 at New Delhi. The objective was to help chart out the road map for further strengthening trade and economic relations with countries in Africa particularly in the engineering sector.
Invitees included African Ambassadors/diplomats, senior officers from Government of India's Ministries of External Affairs, Commerce, Steel and Power and other stake holders. Public Sector Undertakings like EIL, MMTC, RITES, WAPCOS and leading corporates like Reliance Power were the other participants.
OIA was represented by Chairman Ambassador V.B.Soni as a special invitee. He was requested to make his contribution based on firsthand knowledge having served as Ambassador of India in several African countries and now as Chairman of OIA.
In his opening remarks Chairman EEPC said that they have been instrumental in promoting Trade and Development opportunities with Africa through Trade Delegations, Seminars, Exhibitions and Buyer-Sellers meet etc. He said that leading Indian companies, both in the private and public sectors have been contributing to Africa's economic development. He singled out OIA, along with TATA, RELIANCE, EIL, RITES etc. for having successfully completed prestigious projects in various countries in Africa.
Ghana and Nigeria High Commissioners, Ambassadors of Algeria, South Sudan, Eritrea and senior diplomats from other countries spoke about the opportunities their countries offer for Indian investors. Charge' d' Affaires of Ethiopia made a special mention of the pioneering work done by OIA, among others in changing the face of her country's development.
Chairman OIA Ambassador Soni spoke at length about India's Focus Africa policy, Team Nine Initiative, India Africa Forum Summits, the third in the series of which is being scheduled in the first week of December 2014. This could be the path breaking event as for the first time invitations have been sent to the Heads of State/Government of all the 54 African countries to visit New Delhi for the purpose. New initiatives would be announced that would speed up the process of the various planned activities. MrSoni said that apart from the Line of Credit as soft loans, India has already undertaken ambitious programme for institutional linkages and training Centres in wide ranging fields on the continent.
Ambassador Soni then related OIA's success story and the projects being implemented in almost a dozen countries in crucial sectors like power, rural electrification, sugar, agriculture, water, housing, transportation. He underlined that our economic partnership with African countries has been vibrant and goes beyond trade and investment to technology transfer, knowledge sharing and skill development. OIA is fully committed to that. Mention was made by him of the state-of-art specialist eye hospital set up by it in Ethiopia as a part of corporate social responsibility.