The India–Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) is the official platform for the African-Indian relations. IAFS is held once in every three years, in rotational basis – once in India and repeated every alternate times. It was first held from April 4 to April 8, 2008 in New Delhi, India. This year the summit is again happening in New Delhi, between October 26 and 29, where heads of the state and the government from most of the continent's 54 countries are attending the summit.
The Trade Ministers/ officials from several African countries are attending the event. Mike Bimha, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Zimbabwe, said Africa was rich in natural resources, trained and skilled manpower and Africa was looking towards India for transfer of technology and adding value to their abundantly available raw material. He also said that Africa required India's significant support in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial meetings that are scheduled to be held in Nairobi during December this year, the first time that the meeting is being scheduled in Africa.
Addressing the Fourth India-Africa Trade Ministers' Meeting in New Delhi, India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that India sees Africa as a 'natural partner' and both together can have a positive influence on the future global economic order. She said both India and Africa face similar challenges and concerns and the world economy offers tremendous opportunities to these two fastest growing regions. Importantly, with the developed countries in the West facing growth slowdown, India sees Africa as natural growth frontier to expand its footprint especially given the continent’s immense natural resources. Ms. Sitharaman earlier also pitched for greater cooperation in agriculture and agro-processing, engineering, textiles, leather, pharmaceuticals to have a positive bearing on the food security, improvement in health situation and creation of additional jobs in both Africa and India.
The 5 day summit started with consultations on official level followed by the Head of States/governments level summit on 29 October 2015 with scheduled bilateral meetings on 30 October 2015. India has also offered Africa a concessional credit of $10 billion over five years and a grant assistance of $600 million. “We are conscious of the shadow that falls between an idea and action, between intention and implementation so, implementation will be as important as starting projects. We will strengthen our monitoring system. This will include a joint monitoring mechanism with African Union”, Modi said while addressing the event. The Indian PM also called for called for stronger ties in the strategic areas of counter-terrorism, climate change and on UN reforms. This is probably Modi government's biggest diplomatic effort involving delegates from a large number of African nations.