India and Africa should renew their joint efforts to accelerate reform and expansion of the UN Security Council, said Anil Sooklal, South Africa’s Sherpa for BRICS and G20, at a virtual conference held to mark the 2020 Africa Day.
“The attempts at the UN Security Council to put a halt to global conflicts during the pandemic have been unsuccessful. It shows how paralysed the UN system is. What is it that we are celebrating on its 75th anniversary of the UN?,” Mr Sooklal said while responding to a question on what India and Africa can do to intensify reform of global governance institutions.
“You still have an Africa that is marginalised in the Security Council. How much did we progress in the UN reform process since it began some 20 years ago? So, Africa and India must push the reform agenda of the multilateral institutions, especially the UNSC, through their BRICS and IBSA platforms,” said Mr Sooklal. “We need to collaborate and see how we create a more inclusive global society that does not marginalise Africa and other parts of the world,” said Mr Sooklal, Deputy Director-General responsible for Asia and the Middle East in Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Republic of South Africa.
To mark the 2020 Africa Day, an International Webinar entitled “Mapping Next Steps in India-Africa Partnership: Pandemic & Beyond,” was organised by the Delhi headquartered India Writes Network, a leading publishing and research organisation focused on global affairs and India and the World magazine. The Webinar brought together eminent diplomats, experts and thought leaders from India and over African and several European countries.
In his welcome remarks, Manish Chand, Founder-CEO of India Writes Network and India and the World, set out key themes of the conference. “Taking a long-range view, the virtual seminar will help map the future trajectory of the India-Africa partnership in accordance with 10 principles of the India-Africa partnership outlined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his defining speech to the Ugandan parliament in July 2018.”
Global Supply Chains
Mr Sooklal, also South Africa’s BRICS Sherpa, G20 Sherpa and IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) Sherpa and the IORA (Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation), also called for enhanced collaboration in shaping post-Covid global supply chains. “The faultlines exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic in the global supply chain offer an opportunity for India and Africa to build a robust system based on shared values that would withstand any future difficult situations,” he said.
“The current global slowdown offers an opportunity for us to overcome the challenges, and it is fortuitous that we have put forward this template of the Continental Free Trade Agreement,” Mr Sooklal said at the virtual seminar held to mark Africa Day. He was referring to the historic continent-wide deal that was scheduled to come into force on July 1 but could be postponed due to the pandemic.
Both India and Africa account for almost one-third of the global population, but in contrast, the combined share of global trade is less than 10%. “In this day and age, it is inconceivable, and so, we need to look at it again to ensure that Africa and India become part of the mainstream,” he said.
At the 2015 India-Africa Forum Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had outlined the guiding principles of this partnership, which he reaffirmed during his state visit to Uganda in an address to parliament. “What is needed now is to unpack these guiding principles and synergise it for Agenda 2063,” Mr Sooklal said.
“The primary focus should be on how both can jointly produce for mutual benefit. There are tremendous opportunities but both sides have to look at the niche areas where they can add value to this relationship. Sectors such as pharmaceuticals, Information and Communication Technology, capacity and skill development, and agriculture could be significant areas for collaboration,” Mr Sooklal said. “We need to relook the millennia model of value chain supply, of producing, using, and discarding. We need to collaborate and see how we can create a more inclusive global society that does not marginalise Africa and other parts of the world,” he added.
Moderated by Manish Chand, the Webinar was addressed by eminent diplomats and experts. This included: Dr Anil Sooklal, Deputy Director General, DIRCO, South Africa; H.E. Mr. Alem Tsehaye Woldemariam, Ambassador of Eritrea in India and Dean of African Group Heads of Mission in India; David Rasquinha, MD, EXIM Bank; H.E. Ambassador of Uganda to India Grace Akello; H.E. Morocco’s Ambassador to India Mohammed Maliki; H.E. Ambassador of Ethiopia to India Tizita Mulugeta; H.E. Sékou KASSÉ, Ambassador of Mali; Amb. Virendra Gupta, India’s former high commissioner to South Africa; Prof. Rajan Harshe, academic and author; and Pranav Kumar, Head, International Trade (CII).
- India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) is an emerging think tank and a media-publishing company focused on international affairs & the India Story. A venture of TGII Media Private Limited, a leading media, publishing and consultancy company, IWN has carved a niche for balanced and exhaustive reporting and analysis of international affairs. Eminent personalities, politicians, diplomats, authors, strategy gurus and news-makers have contributed to India Writes Network, as also “India and the World,” a magazine focused on global affairs. The Global Insights India (TGII) is the research arm of India Writes Network. To subscribe to India and the World, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
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