West African technocrats discuss technical cooperation with India
West African technocrats are attending a two-day international conference in Accra to enhance technical co-operation with India to boost key sectors of their economies.
The key areas of cooperation are economic, education, health, agriculture, information and communications technology (ICT), as well as curbing terrorism.
Held under the auspices of the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), an international policy think tank, the conference is also a platform for participating countries to share ideas on how to develop key sectors of the economy, especially in the areas of energy and national security.
It is on the theme: “India-West Africa partnership for enhancing security, development and growth.”
Addressing the opening session, the minister designate for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (MFARI), Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, observed that it was important for Ghana and other African countries to collaborate with India to address key national challenges, including job creation.
“The Government of Ghana stands ready to cooperate with India to facilitate human resource development, agricultural revolution, energy generation and in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, for the benefit of our people,” she said.
She stressed the need for pragmatic steps to be taken to harness the potential of the teeming youth in Ghana and Africa by taking advantage of opportunities and cooperations that would equip them with entrepreneurial skills.
Ms Botchway added that when the energy of the younger generation was properly harnessed through innovative mechanisms, the tendency for them to be recruited by terrorists and violent extremists could be curbed.
“It is in this regard that Ghana as a country looks forward to the identification of areas in which Indian expertise in entrepreneurship and skills development could be explored,” she stated.
Touching on national security, she said there was an intrinsic link between security and development, which was why it was important to put in place structures that could spur development in all sectors of the economy.
The Indian High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Birender Singh Yadav, said Ghana was a good business partner and fertile ground for economic co-operation because the country had an enviable democratic environment.
He said the holding of peaceful elections and smooth transition of power between different political parties over the years had endeared the country to the rest of the world.
“The choice of Ghana by the ICWA as the venue of this conference is very appropriate because of the transparent and peaceful elections and the fact that Ghana has lived up to its image as the beacon of strong and robust democracy, not only in Africa, but the world at large,” he added.
He said one key area that the Indian government had prioritised in its collaboration with Ghana and other West African countries was in the award of scholarships for higher education in India.
The Deputy Director General of the ICWA, Mr Ajaneesh Kumar, said the co-operation between India and West African countries would help to promote the principles underlying the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063.
He said there was a synergy between the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the AU development agenda, and the Indian collaboration would help to facilitate those initiatives.
According to him, the green revolution technology that helped to boost the agriculture sector in India was central to the cooperation that would be strengthened between India and West African countries.
“It is key for countries in Africa to adopt modern technology in agriculture such as proper irrigation schemes, credit facilities to farmers and emphasis on agricultural mechanisation to meet national development initiatives,” he said.
He also hinted that the ICWA initiative would focus on quality health delivery, especially in the areas of rural health, training of nurses and health personnel, and collaborations on the supply of medical consumables.