India-Africa relations sure to enhance, Tunisian Ambassador Lakhal

KV Prasad
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 8  

Appreciating India’s accent on strengthening ties with the continent and characterising the India-Africa Forum Summit as an ambitious initiative, outgoing Ambassador of Tunisia said the next edition of the summit should further boost the partnership. 

“India-Africa Forum Summit is an ambitious initiative that is gradually but confidently strengthening the relations of cooperation between Africa and India…I strongly believe that the outcomes of the next summit will further boost the partnership between Africa and India, and broaden and strengthen people to people interaction and connectivity,” Ambassador Nejmeddine Lakhal told The Tribune. 

Plans to hold the fourth edition of the summit this autumn and several activities planned in the run-up were postponed after the global health pandemic COVID-19.

Since the 2015 summit, India increased its diplomatic presence in Africa. Now India has residential diplomatic missions in 38 countries executing 194 developmental projects in 37 African countries. 

India-Africa trade is robust, which has grown from US$ 51.7 billion in 2010-11 to $66.7 billion in 2019-20. With India’s exports to Africa and Africa’s exports to India increasing by around $5 billion during this period. Indian and African economies represent two of the world’s most dynamic economic growth stories. 

Ambassador Lakhal said among the many sectors in which MoUs were signed including agriculture, business, cyber-security, education, health, green energy; cooperation in space is a “new promising area”. This should open the door that can support sustainable development. 

On a personal note, having spent some four years here, the Ambassador carries back fondly the lingering taste of Biryani and Chappatis as the top 10 takeaways from India.

“I regret not having been able to discover most of Indian treasures…I was lucky to attend the Hemp international festival, and have memories of my trips to Jaipur, Udaipur, Mumbai, Kerala, Dharamsala and Haryana.” 

Ambassador Lakhal hopes to make up some time to return to visit other famous places including Kashmir that he wants to. “India is a planet and not just a country, and to discover a planet you first need to be lucky, have time and money,” he noted in a matter of fact manner.

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