To be named India Africa Institute of Trade, it is slated to function through the aegis of the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) in the initial years. “The idea will be to develop trade capacities in Africa, for international and intra-Africa trade,” said K Rangarajan, head, IIFT, Kolkata.
He will head implementation of the project and said the institute will host a pan-Africa campus, the primary purpose of which would be to provide a world-class trade policy research facility to the continent.
The trade institute is slated to begin operations by November this year and will initially be housed in Kampala University. In the beginning, the campus would house 100 students, to be expanded to 1,200 over the next five years, within which time the independent campus would become fully operational.
Besides the trade institute, slated to require $20 million of investment, an information technology institute and a logistics institute would also be established as part of the package.
When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Africa last month, he had announced that India would provide Africa with support worth $5 billion over the next three years under lines of credit. He said the package had been announced to aid Africa in the achievement of development goals, offering an additional $700 million toward the development of new institutions and training programmes.
In his address to the Ethiopian legislature, Singh had said there was a new world order in place, making globalisation a reality.
“India and Africa have to work together to make global interdependence work for the benefit of all people and particularly for the millions who live in the developing world. This is our next project,” he had stated.
“For India, the establishment of the African institute would mean a networking benefit. IIFT will ultimately benefit Africa by helping in the formulation of a better trade policy regime in the continent,” said Rangarajan.
The institute would function within the framework of the higher education system in Uganda. “The government of Uganda will make amendments to the set laws if needed to facilitate student movement, helping make the institute truly pan-Africa,” Rangarajan said.
According to estimates for the project, the best trade education infrastructure is presently in South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.