Union Minister of Education and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Shri Dharmendra Pradhan today flagged off Gabon’s first Agri- SEZ project from New Delhi. The project will be implemented by AOM group with Centurion University as the technical and knowledge partner. In the first phase of the program, 30 farmers and 20 B.Sc./M.Sc. Agri and B.Tech/M.Tech Engineering students from Gajapati district, which is an Aspirational district of Odisha, will be travelling together as agri-technical and technical consultants for the agriculture SEZ which is being developed under this project.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Pradhan said that from Gajapati to Gabon, from Cheetahs to Climate Change, India-Africa relationship is going from strength to strength. Today’s launch will add a new chapter in that relationship, he further added. He also expressed confidence that the establishment of an Agriculture and Food Processing Special Economic Zone in Gabon will be a significant milestone towards enhancing food security and self-sufficiency in the country.
Speaking about India-Africa relationship, he said that, in last 9 years, India-Africa relations have gone from strength to strength, recording more than 35 high level visits from India and more than 100 similar ones from Africa. Anti-colonial solidarity, diasporic goodwill, and the principle of ‘South-South’ cooperation, among others, are also playing a significant role in strengthening the partnership between India and the African continent, he further added.
He also said that development partnership is a key pillar in India’s Africa policy. Being a trusted partner in the journey of socio-economic development, India has extended concessional loans of over US$ 12.3 billion to Africa and US$ 700 mn of grant assistance with development projects in various sectors.
Speaking about India’s G20 Presidency, he said that India’s G20 Presidency is very unique given India’s role in amplifying the voice and concerns of the Global South and developing countries, scripting another chapter in strengthening India- Africa relations.
He said that Gabon and other African countries have a lot to learn from India’s development journey and recent initiatives like the Aspirational Districts Program.
He also spoke about India-Africa long standing relations in the areas of education and skill development.