The first Africa Business Summit of leading NRI forum GOPIO will begin in Durban this week, providing trade opportunities with the continent to over 200 delegates from the Indian diaspora.
Delegates from 50 countries will engage in a series of panel discussions in the summit organised by Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) in the coastal city which is home to almost half of South Africa's 1.4 million Indian-origin citizens.
During the summit from May 19 to 21, experts will address issues such as building Africa through technology, rural development, small scale industries and microcredit financing.
Social issues that will be addressed by global leaders from business, government and civil society at the summit include examining the growing gap between the rich and the poor, the economic woes of unemployment, growing demonstrations over service delivery and private-public sector partnerships to boost economic development, growth and sustainability.
Ishwar Ramlutchman, GOPIO Africa co-ordinator for GOPIO International said a unified Indo-African approach in the 54 countries on the continent would pave a new route for meaningful economic and social growth.
"As Gopio International, we cannot proceed into the future in a vacuum," Ramlutchman told local media.
"While not diluting our core values, we must become more pro-active in engaging the economic sector, government and civil society to ensure that the economic cake is evenly spread among socially and economically marginalised communities," he said.
"This business gathering of like-minded people and patriots must provide the stimulus needed to combat one-sided globalisation, unequal economy, junk status of developmental democracies and countries battling sagging economies, burdensome debts, high joblessness and poverty."
Several South Africa and international Indian-origin leaders will also be honoured at the event by Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini at a gala closing banquet on Saturday evening.
On Sunday, delegates will have the opportunity to interact with Mahatma Gandhi's granddaughter Ela Gandhi, who continues to run the Phoenix Settlement started by her then young lawyer grandfather during his tenure in the city at the turn of the 20th century.
Gopio International was established in New York in 1989 as a non-partisan, non-sectarian and non-profit global movement to fight human rights violation of overseas Indians.
The priorities of the organisation have since then changed to efforts to pool resources, both financial and professional, for the benefit of the global diaspora and India.
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