New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar speaking at the 17th CII EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa growth partnership said that India has extended concessional loans of over 12.3 billion dollars to Africa.

"Being a trusted partner in the journey of socio-economic development, India has extended concessional loans of over 12.3 billion dollars to Africa. We've completed 197 projects so far, 65 more are currently under execution & 81 are at the pre-execution stage," said Jaishankar.

He also highlighted that India has granted USD 700 million of grant assistance.

"Our development projects in various sectors such as drinking water schemes to irrigation, rural-solar electrification, power plants, transmission lines, cement, sugar and textile factories, technology parks, railway infrastructure etc. have generated local employment and changed the life of many people in Africa," said the EAM.

Jaishankar also informed about various development works done by India in African countries like Gambia, Zambia, Mauritius, Namibia and South Sudan.

"In Gambia, India has constructed the National Assembly building and undertaken projects in water supply, agriculture and food-processing," said Jaishankar.

"In Zambia, India has been involved in important hydropower projects, erection of pre-fabricated health posts and in the supply of vehicles. In Mauritius, our recent notable project includes metro express, the new Supreme Court and social-housing," he added.

He underscored the focus on training and education in Africa to create new opportunities for cooperation.

"In Namibia, a new centre of excellence in IT has just become operational, whereas, in South Sudan as with so many other African partners, we are focussing on training and education and welcome new opportunities for cooperation," said Jaishankar.

He further stressed the cooperation between India and African countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, India continued its engagement with Africa by focussing more on the virtual format. The 15th and 16th editions of CII-EXIM Bank Africa Conclave were accordingly held in that mode. We tried to make real difference in continent's ability to cope with the pandemic. 32 African countries received 150 tonnes of medical assistance from India. Many of them also utilized 'Made in India' vaccines, received directly or otherwise from us," said Jaishankar.

A wide-ranging and detailed agenda was deliberated upon during the course of the day ranging from higher education or skilled development, building stronger financial partnerships or strengthening value-chains in agriculture and food processing.

"These are all significant sectors of cooperation between us and had created a buzz among the India-Africa business community, said Jaishankar.

India and Africa have long-standing, historic trade and economic linkages - whether it is commerce, culture or mobility. There are truly historical linkages that give a contemporary partnership a strong sense of comfort.

"It is only natural that during the 20th century - India should support African countries in the quest to attain independence and fight against apartheid," said the EAM.

Africa plays an important role in India's foreign policy outlook, reflected in the expanding diplomatic footprint that today covers 43 African countries.

"It is our ability to take these goals forward that defines the rebalancing that the world is currently undergoing. During the last 8 years, there is also stepped up engagement with the continent recording 36 high-level visits from India and more than 100 similar ones from Africa," said Jaishankar.

Development partnership is the primacy of India's Africa policy due to post-colonial reconstruction. This has been the centre-piece of the India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) that first commenced in 2008.

Since then, the IAFS Summit has expanded very significantly. Particularly, after 2015 the engagements have intensified, which underlines Prime Minister Narendra Modi's personal commitment to greater equity and sustainable development.

"The current Indian approach to our cooperation was enunciated by him in Kampala in July 2018," added Jaishankar.