By State House Communication Unit
President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma has described the third India-Africa Forum Summit as an excellent opportunity for the African continent and the sub-continent of India to build upon the historic and fraternal South-South cooperation that exists between developing countries.
He made this statement during the second plenary session of the Summit currently underway in the historic city of New Delhi today Thursday 29 October, 2015.
“Africa is inspired by India as a great model of technological advancement, research and development,” he said.
President Koroma further noted that Africa seeks to nurture this inspiration in harnessing the continent’s resources for growth, stability and development, saying that Africa is ready for business, and prepared to build synergies for trade and investment. “We seek a win-win partnership based on public sector facilitation and private sector centrality,” he stressed.
The president commended India’s leadership in advancing the cause of the global South within the frameworks of the Group of 77 and China, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Commonwealth, the G-20 and the United Nations.
“Today the International community is discussing and acting on climate change, environmental degradation, desertification, light weapons and the fights against terrorism, human trafficking, drugs and piracy. These are critical concerns for Africa and India,” he pointed out, and emphasized the fact that Africa’s population is not only the more at risk, but also the least able to weather the devastating effects of these trans-border events.
With nearly half the word’s population, India/Africa synergies on these matters, President Koroma said, is central to the future of humanity.
He went on to explain that because Africa has the biggest youth populations and the people are becoming the mainstay of humanity’s progress as well as the future of the world, he called for cooperation to secure that future. “India and Africa must build a great partnership to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals,” he urged.
Sierra Leone’s President Koroma also urged that the future must be based on democratic and inclusive global institutions. “It is in this light that we seek India’s support, as the world’s biggest democracy, for Africa’s quest for a more inclusive United Nations,” he underscored amidst rapturous applause.
“This is why, Excellencies, as coordinator of the African Union Committee of Ten (C-10) on the Reform of United Nations Security Council, I would like to use this platform to solicit the support of India for Africa’s bid for two permanent seats in the UN Security Council with all the privileges involved, as enshrined in Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration,” he reiterated.
President Koroma also lauded India’s support for peace, stability and growth in Sierra Leone, and noted that India’s contribution to United Nations Peacekeeping operations helped bring lasting peace to Sierra Leone and many other parts around the globe.
“Today, my Government contributes troops and supports peacekeeping operations in Africa and other lands. We seek partnerships with India in furthering this important arm of global stability and peace,” said the Head of State.
On the issue of the devastating effects of the Ebola outbreak, President Koroma informed that Sierra Leone was being commended for its remarkable progress in ensuring peace, stability and steady economic growth when Ebola struck a little over a year ago. The outbreak, he said, has taken a heavy toll on the entire socio-economic fabric of Sierra Leone and its neighbors. He however informed that with support from international friends, the country fought back. “Today, we have almost defeated the evil virus. We have had no cases of the disease for nearly two months now, and we are just days to Sierra Leone being declared Ebola Free by the World Health Organization,” he confidently explained. He therefore called on India as a leading innovator of health products and programs, education, ICT and agriculture in the developing world to support Sierra Leone in ensuring success in these areas.
In conclusion, the president noted that Sierra Leone is ripe for recovery and growth and urged India’s participation in the immense possibilities of the recovery. “Africa is taking off; we applaud India’s partnership in Africa’s re-emergence. Africa is now a champion of reforms, inclusion and growth at continental, sub-continental and global levels; we seek India’s continued cooperation in these worthy causes,” he emphasized.