External Affairs

Pranab Mukjherjee’s Africa Trip: A Round-Up

President Pranab Mukherjee gifted Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama a picture of Ranjendra Prasad meeting Kwame Nkrumah. Credit: PTI

President Pranab Mukherjee gifted Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama a picture of Rajendra Prasad meeting Kwame Nkrumah. Credit: PTI

President Pranab Mukherjee is on a six-day trip to Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Namibia as a part of the Africa outreach programme to boost India’s ties with African nations. He is the first Indian president to visit Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, while this will be the first visit of its kind to Namibia in the last two decades.

Ghana: Nuclear energy, terrorism and the UN security council

Mukherjee landed in Accra, Ghana on June 13, where he met with Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama. Ghana sought India’s cooperation for its civil nuclear energy programme, attempting to harness clean energy and move to sustainable sources.

After the talks, Mahama and Mukherjee signed three memorandums of understanding, stating that the countries will waive visas for diplomatic and official passports, establish a joint commission to periodically monitor various aspects of the multidimensional relationship and that India will help train Ghanaian foreign service officers.

“In the new areas, [such decisions] came for the first time…Ghanian President specifically mentioned that since India is [a]  leader in nuclear energy; they want to look at having a civil nuclear cooperation with India,” secretary (economic relations) Amar Sinha said. “Ghana said they would want to cooperate with India to see if they can also use the nuclear energy route. They will examine what are possibilities, what human and national resources are required.”

At a banquet hosted in Mukherjee’s honour by Mahama, the Indian president brought up the issue of terrorism. “Terrorism is a scourge that knows no borders and it must be eradicated through the collective efforts of the civilised world,” Mukherjee said. He pledged India’s support to Ghana to combat terrorism, adding that India had been a victim of it for three decades now.

The two leaders also spoke about the shared history between the nations and how they could cooperate in the global arena. “Today the world order demands global governance structures that are consistent with the new challenges that confront the global community. It is a serious anomaly that India, home to every sixth citizen of the world and Africa, a vibrant hub of the global economy, still remain out of [the] UN security council,” Mukherjee said.

Côte d’Ivoire: Private sector investment

On Mukherjee’s first day in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire on June 14, he met with the country’s president, Alassane Ouattara. Ouattara sought investment from India’s private sector in order to strengthen trade ties between the countries, particularly in the cocoa processing industry.

In one of the important agreements signed by the presidents, it was stated that the Indian Export-Import Bank will reopen its office in Abidjan. The bank shifted its office to Sudan in 1992 because of political turmoil in Côte d’Ivoire.

As in Ghana, Mukherjee also raised the issue of reforms in the United Nations security council and said change is a must.

(With PTI inputs)