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Why Africa is where the future lies

April 07, 2008

The ambitious India-Africa Forum Summit to be held on April 8-9, 2008, in New Delhi will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. It's the biggest-ever summit to be hosted in India, and is meant to enhance India's relations with the 53 African nations.

It is commonly acknowledged by the United States, the European Union and China that 'Africa is the Continent of Light -- that's where the sun will shine tomorrow'; obviously, everyone is gearing up to share the sunny days of tomorrow's Africa.

"Don't look at Africa as a country, it is 53 countries that you are talking about," says Shipra Tripathi, 45, the bold and brainy chief of Africa Desk in the Confederation of Indian Industry.

For the last five years, Tripathi -- Director & Head Africa, CII -- has been visiting, alone, the nooks and corners of African nations, six times a year. She claims the African nations are changing, and changing fast. They are struggling to go beyond the apartheid hurts and colonial rules. Africa's land mass is 11 times bigger than India's, with a much smaller population of 885 million.

After getting a degree in management, she did her post-graduation in international relations. Now, she mixes both the skills to lure Indians and Africans to do more and more business.

In an exclusive account, she tells the story of her many journeys to some 25 countries of Africa to promote closer business relations between this fast-growing continent and India.

Africa calling

'The Indo-Africa Forum Summit is hosting more than 600 Africans who have come to New Delhi. More than 500 Indians are directly engaging with them without any via-media. I am proud of it. It's a culmination of different levels of dialogue between India and the African countries in the last six years.'

Shipra Tripathi spoke to Managing Editor Sheela Bhatt

Image: Shipra Tripathi, director & head, Africa, CII (left). | Photographs, courtesy: Shipra Tripathi

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