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Indians are always welcome in Africa: AU official

Africa is seeking India's technical support and experience as it moves towards building a contemporary continent, a top African Union (AU) official has said, saying more Indians should visit Africa and invest in Africa.

"For us to look at our future with confidence we need to address our needs. India is supporting us in this. We are seeking technical support and share of experience and nothing else," AU Commission Chief of Staff Jean Baptiste Natama told agency during his visit to India recently.

Capacity building and value development of skills to help Africans better organise themselves is one of the major areas in which India is collaborating with the 54-nation continent, said Natama, who was here for a meeting on adopting the Plan of Action of the Enhanced Framework for Cooperation for the India-Africa Forum Summit-II (IAFS).

Natama described the Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC), under which African nations get scholarships in India to study across various sectors including agriculture, as an example of South-South cooperation.

"All the (Indian collaboration) programmes are based on our priorities," he added.

He said during talks on capacity building in human resource development, the aspect of development communication skills, especially in the media, was also touched upon.

Natama said India and Africa need to boost bilateral tourism. "We need to organise flow of information between the two for Africa to be well informed about India, and for India to be well informed about Africa. There is need to make sure we put in place appropriate communication channels and this will not be efficient if we don't have the right people."

"We need the right media people to do it and we know there is a deficit of information about Africa. We are witnessing others telling our story on our behalf. We wish to tell our stories and so, development of a communication strategy is a key component of our vision," he noted.

He said India and Africa are bound by historical ties. He said both sides need to regularly consult each other and make sure "we are promoting the interests of the two sides".

"We are calling for Indians to visit Africa, to learn more about Africa and to invest in Arica. We want to assure them they will always be welcome in Africa," said Natama.

"We have warm ties and relations between India and Africa. India has played a key role in Africa when the continent was struggling against colonialism and now we have another struggle - which is for the development of the continent. And it is important that we continue the association for a win-win situation for both," he stressed.