Modi’s 10-point policy for better relations with Uganda, Africa
At the conclusion of his two-day state visit to Uganda, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an ambitious foreign policy program intended to boost trade with Africa generally but also announced a special package for Uganda.
Modi’s pronouncements were made during his address to Parliament on Wednesday morning as he wound up his East African tour that begun in Rwanda on Monday, becoming the first sitting Indian Prime Minister to visit Uganda and address Parliament.
His package for Uganda totals to $205m in loans broken into $141m (Shs 528.8bn) for the development of the electricity sector and $64m (Shs 240bn) for the agricultural sector but he also listed trade, defense, health, technology and governance as the key tenets that will inform India’s cooperation with Uganda.
“Our efforts will be driven by your priorities; we will keep our doors open and ease trade with Africa; we will deal in digital evolution to improve devolution, expand education and health care and improve financial literacy through digital literacy,” said Modi.
He also spoke about the need for cooperation to mitigate the challenges of climate change, cyber security and elimination of terrorism and extremism.
Modi said, his country boasts of credit lines worth $11bn in 40 African countries plus investments worth $54bn as well as trade volumes worth $62bn.
Narrowed down to Uganda, exports to India grew from $25m in 2015 to $44m in 2018 while imports from India have fallen from $1.2bn in 2015 to $736m.
“We will keep our markets open for Africa and make it easier for Africa to trade with India. We will support our industries to invest in Africa. We will work with you to improve African agriculture,” Modi said.
Modi announced a grant for the construction of a Mahatma Ghandi heritage centre in Jinja, where the ashes of India’s independence movement activist Mahatma Ghandi were interred.
President Yoweri Museveni said, the idea to construct the Ghandi heritage centre came from India.
“Before Modi came, they had sent advance information that they wanted to build a convention centre for Ghandi, we later found out that some people working with Malaysians were putting up some other convention centrearound Kampala. That is when he talked of the holy city of Jinja because it where the ashes of Ghandi were interred,” Museveni said.
From Uganda, Modi proceeded to South Africa from BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) conference.