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  India, in a joint initiative with the African Union, has launched the Pan-African e-network project, which will support tele-education, telemedicine, e-commerce, e-governance, infotainment, resource-mapping and meteorological services *

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ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA AT THE INAUGURAL SESSION OF THE PAN AFRICAN PARLIAMENT : India and African Union - Partners for Development (16-09-2004 : South Africa)
Source : www.presidentofindia.nic.in

Madam President and Honourable Members of the Pan African Parliament.

I am honoured to have been called upon to participate in the opening ceremony of the second Pan African Parliament Session of the African Union. I am delighted to extend my greetings and those of over one billion people of India to the members of this Pan African Parliament which is the largest union of a group of countries who share similar and almost identical political social and economic environment. I consider this union which unites about three thousand distinct national communities speaking about thousand different languages as a harbinger of hope not only for the members of African Union but for the whole world. This is a great example of unity in diversity in action which is the way of life in my country over five millennia.

Focus Africa

      Focus Africa programme is one of the highest priority items for India. May I share with you my Government?s decision towards ?Focus Africa?
My Government has taken a special initiative for Africa, pledging $ 200 million in the form of credit line as part of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) Scheme. My Government has also announced a second scheme TEAM-9 initiative with a certain number of African Countries with an outlay of $ 500 million. These initiatives aim at the long-term economic development of certain African countries. Joint task teams have to be formed for mission mode operation to derive maximum benefits in the shortest possible time.

      Madam President and Hon?ble Members will agree with me that for India and the African nations, the common enemy is poverty and disease. We must launch technology missions to combat this enemy. As a first step we should embark on a connectivity mission among the nations ? Electronic connectivity and Knowledge connectivity enabling Economic connectivity of the region. For this, we propose a programme to connect all the 53 nations of the African Union by a satellite and Fiber optic network. Apart from providing effective communication and connectivity among the nations, the same link will support tele-education, tele-medicine, e-governance, e-commerce, infotainment, resource mapping and meteorological services. This network will give rural connectivity to the entire Pan-African Union - an effective way to use technology to provide democratic access and empowerment.

Healthcare mission

      A various parts of the world are getting affected by HIV/AIDS in addition to other communicable diseases in poorer sections of the society. It is time that the national and international agencies join together to mount a concerted programme in eliminating these dreaded diseases from the planet earth. India has already ventured into the field of anti-AIDS vaccine. We are also mounting programmes to eradicate the new strains of other communicable diseases like TB and malaria. Certainly India and PAN-African countries can join together and progress the development faster

Entrepreneurship and Employment generation

      Based on our own experience, I would suggest that it is necessary to technologically upgrade small and medium industries for employment generation. In order to achieve this there has to be an all round improvement in technology, and quality management, skill upgradation for existing and potential employees, and aggressive marketing. In addition we need to make the youth to seek entrepreneurship so that they can be employment generators rather than employment seekers. My government will be willing to work with African countries in this process through programmes for sharing of experiences as well as by encouraging our private sector to become partners in the process.


      I have been in this beautiful continent during the last one week. I have enjoyed its natural beauty. I have also gained a lot through sharing of ideas with many personalities. That inspired me to compose a poem entitled ? "Oh! Human beings connect your hearts!" Let me read this for you:

Oh! Human beings connect your hearts!

The ocean connects us,

The waves are our music

The sky connects us,

The earth and sun give us life

Clouds connect us

Their impregnations give us rain

Everything in the universe connects us

Oh! human beings, why not you connect your hearts

In Africa you have already entered into such a great mission towards unity of minds through this Pan African Parliament. May you succeed in your endeavours.

May God bless you.

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