At the African Development
Bank meeting in Gujarat, India has come out with a vision document for
Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC), a vision shared by two prime ministers, the
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. It comes at a time when China
is focusing on its mega One Belt One Road to connect Asia with Africa.
AAGC aims for Indo-Japanese collaboration to develop
quality infrastructure in Africa, complemented by digital connectivity.
The AAGC, based on
India’s decades old goodwill in Africa and Japan’s financial resources, aims to
be an efficient and sustainable mechanism for linking economies, industries and
institutions, ideas and people among, and between, Africa and Asia in an
inclusive fashion. There is still vast and untapped potential among, and in
between, Asia and Africa, which needs to be explored for shared growth,
development, peace, prosperity and stability of these regions, officials said.
“The AAGC would consist
of four main components: development and cooperation projects, quality
infrastructure and institutional connectivity, capacity and skill enhancement
and people-to-people partnerships. These four components are complementary to
promote growth and all round development in both the continents,” the document
said. The meeting in Gujarat was attended by two presidents and one vice
president from Africa.
The AAGC initiative is
part of Indo-Pacific freedom corridor being put in place by India and Japan
with an eye on counterbalancing China’s OBOR
Digital connectivity will
also support the growth of innovative technology and services between Asia and
Africa. There is scope for Asia to share its experiences of growth and
development with Africa, according to persons involved in the project. Quality
infrastructure connects people, towns, regions and countries, and helps unleash
their potential for growth. It consists of five remarkable aspects.
These aspects are: (a)
effective mobilisation of financial resources; (b) their alignment with
socio-economic development and development strategies of partner countries and
regions; (c) application of high-quality standards in terms of compliance with
international standards established to mitigate environmental and social
impact; (d) provision of quality of infrastructure taking into account aspects
of economic efficiency and durability, inclusiveness, safety and
disaster-resilience, sustainability as well as convenience and amenities; and
(e) contribution to the local society and economy,” the document said.