PM Narendra Modi will go on a five-day three-nation tour of Africa from July 23 during the course of which he will attend this year’s BRICS Summit that will be hosted by South Africa, it was announced on Friday. Briefing the media here, T.S. Tirumurti, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the External Affairs Ministry, said that Modi will be in Rwanda on July 23-24, in Uganda on July 24-25 and in South Africa from July 25 to 27.
This will be Modi’s second official visit to Africa after his visits to Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya in 2016. Tirumurti said that with the upcoming tour, India will complete ministerial visits to all African countries under New Delhi’s Africa outreach initiative. Modi will first stop in Rwanda in what will be the first ever prime ministerial visit from India to the East African nation.
Describing Rwanda as an important gateway to eastern Africa, Tirumurti said that India and Rwanda elevated their bilateral ties to the level of a Strategic Partnership in January last year. Modi’s visit comes after Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s visit to India in January 2017 for the Vibrant Gujarat event and then again in March 2018 for the founding conference of the India-initiated International Solar Alliance.
Tirumurti said that India will open its first mission in Rwanda very soon. India’s current High Commissioner to Rwanda has residence in Kampala, Uganda. “Rwanda has also been a recipient of our lines of credit of nearly $400 million and of our training and scholarship programmes,” he said.
During Modi’s visit, two more lines of credit are expected to be signed – one of $100 million for industrial parks and a similar amount for agriculture and irrigation. “We expect agreements to be concluded in the areas of defence, dairy cooperation, leather, agriculture and culture,” Tirumurti said.
From Rwanda, Modi will reach Uganda on July 24 in what will the first bilateral visit by an Indian prime minister in 21 years. Tirumurti said that training and capacity building has been the focus of defence cooperation between India and Uganda.
“India has an Indian military training team stationed in Jinja since 2010,” he said. Apart from calling on Ugandan President Yowei Museveni and holding delegation-level talks, Modi will take part in an India-Uganda joint business event and address the Ugandan parliament, the first ever by an Indian prime minister.
He will also address members of the Indian community in Uganda that numbers over 30,000. “We expect to extend two lines of credit for the first time to Uganda of $141 million regarding electricity lines and sub-stations and $64 million for agriculture and dairy production,” Tirumurti said. From Uganda, Modi will reach South Africa on July 25 on the third and last leg of his visit to Africa.
Stating that the visit to South Africa is mainly in the context of this year’s BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit, Tirumurti said that Modi will also hold a bilateral meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa. “This will be the first visit by the Prime Minister to South Africa after the new administration led by President Ramaphosa assumed office in February this year,” he said.
South Africa is organising the 10th BRICS leaders’ summit under the theme “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration with Developing Countries for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. Modi, along with other BRICS leaders, will participate in the restricted session, plenary session, leaders’ retreat, outreach with leaders from Africa and outreach with leaders from the global South.
“In the BRICS-Africa outreach, those invited include Rwanda, Uganda, Togo, Zambia, Namibia, Senegal, Gabon, Ethiopia, Angola and the African Union Chair,” Tirumurti said. “In the BRICS-plus outreach, the invited countries of the global South include Argentina, Turkey, Indonesia, Jamaica, and Egypt.”
According to Tirumurti, the issues before the BRICS Summit broadly include BRICS in Africa, Fourth Industrial Revolution, multilateralism, global governance, health and vaccines, socio-economic empowerment of women, peacekeeping, network of science parks and technology, inclusive growth, sustainable development, infrastructure , youth and cooperation in multilateral fora. “BRICS leaders are expected to discuss, inter alia, global hotspot issues, international peace and security, global governance, trade issues etc, during the restricted session,” he said.