India is attempting to bridge the gap with Africa by roping in the young through a four-year long programme that comes on the back of increased trade.
This latest engagement with Africa is likely to see a further improvement in the relationship as trade between India and Africa blossomed over the past few years. The Indian government says it has targeted to grow trade to Africa to $90 billion by 2015.
In addition to this growth in trade, the external affairs ministry has embarked on an ambitious campaign to win the hearts of the continent’s youth through a new programme called, "Indiafrica: a shared future" over the next four years (2011-14).
Udita Das, a consultant at New Delhi-based company IdeaWorks, which is coordinating the campaign, said: "It is part of an effort to implement the decisions of the India-Africa Forum Summits.”
The Public Diplomacy Division of the external affairs ministry has drawn up a number of programmes to engage the youth in Africa for promoting India-Africa relations, she added.
Figures produced by the department of trade show that Indian exports to Africa, south of the Sahara, for the period 2011 up to April-June 2012 totalled $4,827.65 million representing 6.63 per cent of entire global exports.
Trade figures for the 2010-11 period totalled $16,281.09 million and represents 6.46 percent of the total global exports which amounted to $251,135.89 million for the same period. For the period 2011 up to April-June 2012, the figure was $72,722 million.
The figures go on to show that exports to the Southern African region in 2011 topped with $5,700.69 million representing 2.27 percent of the global total whilst East Africa followed with $5,564 million representing 2.21 of the global total. This was followed by West Africa with $4,545.75 million representing 1.81 percent of the global total. Central Africa received $470.65 million representing 0.81 percent of the global total.
For the period 2011 to April-June 2012, the figures show East Africa leading with $1,578 million representing 2.17 percent of the global total. West Africa, $1,550.45 representing 2.13 percent of the global total, South Africa, $1542.90 million representing 2.12 percent of the global total and Central Africa, $156.30 million, representing 0.12 percent.
Not just trade, India wants to do more with the continent.