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Speech of Ambassador H.E.Mr Sailas Thangal at celebration of ITEC DAY 2019 on September 13, 2019.

Posted on: September 13, 2019 | Back | Print

Bonjour & Namaskar,

It is my great pleasure to be present here and welcome you all to ITEC Day 2109. At the outset, allow me to thank DG & representative of Minister of Higher Education for joining us.

ITEC as you all know is a Government of India flagship programme for capacity building as part of south -south cooperation.

India’s effort toward South-South Cooperation, particularly capacity building and higher education, has been integral to India’s foreign policy. India has a unique experience in nation-building given our large, diverse and complex reality. India’s approach to South-South Cooperation has been therefore to share India’s experience and knowledge in a spirit of solidarity with countries from the South which are treading similar paths of socio-economic development.

One of the important challenges that faces mankind in the 21st century is skill development and digital divides. No doubt technological development during the last few decades has been unparallel. The world is turning to Artificial Intelligence and a digital economy and if we miss this revolution the impact would be much greater than the earlier revolutions of development.

The challenge and opportunities before India and Cote d’Ivoire are our young population. The government of the day would need to provide appropriate quality education to materialize the opportunities by making our young human resource into assets for development. To meet this objective quality education and skill development remains the sole answer. The demand for quality education and skill development is going to increase both in India and Africa even as the aspirations of our young population increases.

 India is happy to note that under our capacity building initiatives, thousands of public officials, students, teachers, entrepreneurs, farmers, doctors have been trained or obtained their degrees in India. Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) has been in place for 55 years now and trains 10,000 every year from over 160 countries. Majority of these beneficiaries are from Africa including from Cote d’Ivoire. As you are aware in ITEC GOI meets all expenses.

India is also introduced e-ITEC and ITEC Executive to keep pace with the increasing demand for capacity building to cater to diverse quarters with diverse requirements.

Another important area of our cooperation has been in bridging the digital divide. Today information is the most important commodity and having right information by the right people at the right time is the key for speedy progress. The Pan Africa e-Network, that was launched in Africa at the continental level in 2009, aimed at harnessing socio-economic benefits of ICT for tele-education and tele-medicine. Ministry of External Affairs is spearheading the second phase of the tele-education and tele-medicine project titled e-VidhyaBharati and e-ArogyaBharati Network Project (E-VBAB), which will offer 15,000 scholarships to African students over the next five years to pursue online short-term courses, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from top Indian Universities. E-VBAB portal will be opened soon to all African nationals and will include partner universities and hospitals. Many Africa countries including Cote d’Ivoire have signed the agreement to implement this programme.

In the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi India’s development partnership with Africa will be based on terms that will "liberate African potential and not constrain African future.”

India and Africa are today emerging economies with high growth accompanied by higher optimism for the future. We need to work together as equal partners to empower our youth with required skill and technology know how to meet the demand of development and meet their aspirations. It cannot be done without quality education & appropriate skill. India stands ready to continue its cooperation with friendly countries in this regard.

Thank you for your patient hearing.