President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind visited Benin, The Gambia and Guinea from 28 July to 3 August, 2019. It was the first ever visit of the Head of State/Head of Government of India to all 3 countries. The President was accompanied by Shri Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises/ Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries and Member of Parliament Shri. Dilip Ghosh. It was the President’s fourth visit to the African Continent. The visit was undertaken to further deepen the Indian relations with the African nations.
President’s visit to Benin (July 28-30, 2019)
President Ram Nath Kovind arrived at the Cardinal Bernadine de Cotonou International Airport in Cotonou, Benin on the first leg of his three nations’ tour to the West African region where he was received by Benin’s Foreign Minister Aurelien Agbenonci.
India offers $100 Mn Financial Aid to Benin
- President announced fresh Line of Credit (LoC) worth $100 million for developmental projects in Benin. It will help to meet its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- He also announced extension of e-visa facility to Benin.
- India offered to extend free tele-education courses to 15,000 Beninese students and tele-medicine courses to 1000 doctors and paramedics in Africa.
India and Benin signed 4 Memorandum of Understandings (Mous) in the following fields:
- Cultural Exchange Programme between the two countries for the years 2019-2023.
- MOU on Cooperation in the field of Export Credit and Investment Insurance.
- MOU between Benin & Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL) for participation in the e- VBAB Network Project (Technology upgradation of Pan Africa e-Network Project (PAeNP)- Phase-I) of Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
- Agreement on mutual exemption from the visa requirement for holders of Diplomatic, Official/Service Passports.
- Beninese President: President Ram Nath Kovind held talks with his Beninese counterpart Patrice Talon at the Presidential Palace of the Marina in Cotonou. The two sides discussed on defence and security cooperation and India offered further training assistance to Benin to expand its anti-piracy capacity.
- Indian Community: President met the Indian Community members in Cotonou. India has decided to open 18 new embassies in Africa, seven of them in West Africa. India is Benin’s largest trading partner and nearly 100 Indian or Indian-owned companies are operating in the country.
- President also addressed the gathering at the National Assembly of the Republic of Benin.
- India offered tele-education programme, E-Vidya-bharati, and tele-medicine project, E-Aarogya-bharati, to skill and train the youth in Benin.
President’s visit to Gambia (July 30- August 1, 2019)
On the second leg of his three-nation tour, President Ram Nath Kovind arrived at the Banjul Airport, Gambia where he was received by the President of the Gambia, Mr Adama Barrow and was accorded a ceremonial welcome.
- Gambian President: President held talks with his Gambian counterpart Mr Adama Barrow in Banjul, Gambia. President Kovind received the Instrument of Ratification of the International Solar Alliance Framework Agreement from the Gambian President.
- India is among the top trading partners of the Gambia. The bilateral trade in 2018-19 crossed $200 million, representing an increase of nearly 100% in the last two years.
- President addressed the National Assembly of the Gambia.
- He also attended the Indian Community Reception hosted by the Ambassador of India to Senegal and Gambia, Shri Rajeev Kumar.
President inaugurated the exhibitions on Mahatma Gandhi and Khadi at the Ebunjan Theatre in the Gambia to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Khadi samples for the exhibitions were provided by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), while that for the Gandhi exhibitions were provided by the Gandhi Smriti.
5 lakh dollar Assistance to Gambia
- India offered the Gambia a grant of $500,000 in support of skill development and cottage industry project.
- India has provided concessional lines of credit worth $78.5 million to support programs of rural development, agriculture, drinking water, healthcare and setting up physical infrastructure of the Gambia. Another line of credit of $92 million was extended.
- The two sides signed and exchanged an MOU on Cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy.
India is the fifth largest investor in Africa
- India has become the fifth largest investor in Africa with cumulative investment at over $54 billion.
- South Asia, the African Continent is the largest recipient of Indian overseas assistance.
- India is opening 18 new missions in the Africa region, of which 7 will be in West Africa.
President’s visit to Guinea (August 1-3, 2019)
On the final leg of his three-nation tour, President Ram Nath Kovind arrived at the Conakry Gbessia International Airport where he was received by President of Guinea Alpha Conde along with other dignitaries and was accorded a ceremonial welcome with military honour.
President honoured with ‘The National Order of Merit’
The President of Guinea, Alpha Condé conferred ‘The National Order of Merit’, its highest award to President Ram Nath Kovind. He was awarded for his contribution to overall relations and development of mutual cooperation between India and Guinea.
India and Guinea signed 3 MoUs in the following fields:
- MoU between the Government of the Republic of Guinea and the Government of the Republic of India on cooperation in the field of traditional system of medicine and homeopathy.
- MoU between the Government of the Republic of Guinea and the Telecommunications Consultants India Limited for Participation in the e-VBAB Network Project.
- MoU between the Government of the Republic of Guinea and the Government of the Republic of India on cooperation in the field of renewable energy.
$170 million Assistance to Guinea
- India extended a new Line of Credit (LoC) of $170 million for Conakry Water Supply Project.
- India has provided financial assistance for projects identified by Guinea in the energy, health and transportation sectors, including regional hospitals projects.
- President Conde appreciated the concessional LoC of $35 million from India to Guinea for the construction of two regional hospitals.
Support to India’s Non-Permanent Membership at UNSC
Guinea expressed its support for India’s candidacy as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the term 2021-2022.
- President of India held talks with the President of Guinea, Alpha Condé.
- India and Guinea expressed their support for the implementation of the Paris Agreement (COP21) and reaffirmed their commitment to promote renewable energy through the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the African Renewable Energy Initiative (IAER).
- Both leaders expressed their deep concern over the rise of extremism and terrorism around the world, and called for the need for heightened international efforts to combat terrorism and emphasized the need for the early adoption of the “Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism” in the United Nations.
- India and Guinea emphasized the importance of the implementation of 2 solar projects in Guinea, which will be funded by India’s Lines of Credit (LoC) valued $14.4 million and $5.82 million. The first is for a ‘Solar Project for Supply of Electricity and Drinking Water for seven Public Universities’ and the latter is for a ‘Solar Project for Electrification and Refrigeration in 200 Health Infrastructures in Guinea’.
- President Kovind also held interactions with the Indian community in Conakry, Guinea.
♦ Capital: Porto-Novo (official), Cotonou (Administrative)
♦ Currency: West African CFA franc
♦ Capital: Banjul
♦ Currency: Gambian dalasi
♦ Capital: Conakry
♦ Currency: Guinean franc