September 29, 2010

International Conference on India's Investment in Agriculture in Africa

sudha tiwari

International Conference on India's Investment in Agriculture in Africa
University of Mumbai, on 10-11 January 2011.*

*South- South Cooperation*
*India**, Africa and Food Security: Between the Summits*

Abstracts of about 500 words and a CV of two pages with contact details
should be sent as a single word file to: **

*Funding*: Local hospitality will be provided to all the participants for
the duration of the conference. Limited amount of travel grants will be made
available on request.

*Important dates*
Submission of abstracts - 15 October 2010
Notification of acceptance- 17 October 2010
Submission of completed papers – 10 December 2010
All queries should be addressed to Ms. Sudha Tiwari, Research Investigator,
at: **

*Overview and Topics*
In his closing remarks during India-Africa Summit in April 2008, the
President of United Republic of Tanzania and Chairperson of the African
Union Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete said one of the major concerns for Africa is
food security and urged India to invest in capacity building in the
agricultural sector. He stated, “Currently Africa's agriculture is peasant
agriculture, traditional, plagued with low levels of production. If we are
able to increase productivity in African agriculture, Africa would not only
be able to feed itself, but have huge surpluses to sell to the world. India
has the technology and the skills, which if made available to Africa;
certainly it will help implement the African Green Revolution” (India-
Africa Summit, 2008).

The widening levels of inequality and poverty globally, coupled with sharp
increases in the prices of agricultural products have aggravated the
challenges of food security. Moreover, the diversion of land for the
production of fuels (bio-fuel) in the face of environmental degradation as a
result of climate change has aggravated the food crisis The recent
debilitating economic slowdown has adversely impacted the situation on the
African continent that is faced with a largely unsuccessful approach to
agricultural production and food security and thus heavily reliant on
imports and aid to meet its food requirements.

The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) has identified
agriculture as a ‘sustainable solution to hunger and poverty in Africa’ and
emphasized the role of agriculture as an ‘engine of growth.’ African
countries are thereby seeking to become self sufficient in food grain
production by 2015. The continent has vast stretches of cultivable lands
that can collectively cater to local and global demands. Indian engagement
in Africa is significant in this context, particularly in the area of
capacity building of the agricultural sector in Africa. The Indian green
revolution in 1960s made her a food-surplus country and can be adapted on
the continent. Given its good track record India can provide low cost
appropriate technology to increase agricultural productivity for food and
raw materials in Africa.

The Indian engagement for capacity building in the agriculture and related
sectors is perceptible. The 2008 India-Africa summit facilitated this
engagement at multi- levels- government to government, public-private
partnerships and at the level of civil society and academia. In the
aftermath of the summit, India has become a key source of financing and
concessional lines of credit for agricultural projects in Africa. Instance
may be cited of Tanzania that received a line of credit of US $40 million
for financing the export of agricultural equipments in 2008-2009. Building
close institutional links and developing a process to share the knowledge in
agro-processing and related sectors will also help add value to agricultural

While analyzing the current scenario prospects of closer interactions and
related challenges too need to be looked at. How can we strengthen genuine
attempts to promote South-South Cooperation and avoid neo-colonial
maneuvers for exploiting African resources for India’s own benefits? How
can we strengthen a new and different cooperation model for South-South
cooperation and avoid repeating the same mistakes of traditional

The interregnum period between the 2008 India-Africa Summit and forthcoming
2011 Summit provides us with an opportunity to deliberate on all these

Within this broad remit we expect papers that will explore key areas related
to Indian engagement in African agricultural and related sectors. The themes

- Indian private companies (case studies)
- Exim Bank’s engagement
- Indian public sector engagement
- Food security, democracy and good governance
- Role of civil society and media
- Role of regional organizations
- Food security and gender
- Food security and conflict
- Importing Green Revolution
- Bio-fuels and Food security
- Need for a legal framework
- Capacity building and technology transfer
- India-Africa South-South Cooperation framework

The conference will be of an interdisciplinary nature.
Empirical case studies are particularly welcome.

*Conference coordinator*
Renu Modi (Director), Centre for African Studies
University of Mumbai, India


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