India, Japan come up with AAGC to counter China’s OBOR

Source : Economic Times 26 May 2017

NEW DELHI: India on Thursday launched a vision document for Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) at the ongoing African Development Bank meeting in Gujarat. The initiative, which comes amid China’s mega One Belt One Road project to connect Asia with Africa, is a joint vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. It aims for Indo-Japanese collaboration to develop quality infrastructure in Africa, complemented by digital connectivity.

The AAGC, based on India’s decades old goodwill in Africa and Japan’s financial resources, aims to be an efficient and sustainable mechanism for linking economies, industries and institutions, ideas and people among, and between, Africa and Asia in an inclusive fashion. There is still vast and untapped potential among, and in between, Asia and Africa, which needs to be explored for shared growth, development, peace, prosperity and stability of these regions, officials said.

“The AAGC would consist of four main components: development and cooperation projects, quality infrastructure and institutional connectivity, capacity and skill enhancement and people-to-people partnerships. These four components are complementary to promote growth and all round development in both the continents,” the document said. The meeting in Gujarat was attended by two presidents and one vice president from Africa.

The AAGC initiative is part of Indo-Pacific freedom corridor being put in place by India and Japan with an eye on counterbalancing China’s OBOR.

Digital connectivity will also support the growth of innovative technology and services between Asia and Africa. There is scope for Asia to share its experiences of growth and development with Africa, according to persons involved in the project. Quality infrastructure connects people, towns, regions and countries, and helps unleash their potential for growth. It consists of five remarkable aspects.

These aspects are: (a) effective mobilisation of financial resources; (b) their alignment with socio-economic development and development strategies of partner countries and regions; (c) application of high-quality standards in terms of compliance with international standards established to mitigate environmental and social impact; (d) provision of quality of infrastructure taking into account aspects of economic efficiency and durability, inclusiveness, safety and disaster-resilience, sustainability as well as convenience and amenities; and (e) contribution to the local society and economy,” the document said.

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