Benefits for Africa as India expands ITEC programme
PRETORIA: African countries have greatly benefitted from a bilateral capacity-building programme launched by India more than 50 years ago as it helps expand, build and share technical skills among developing countries.
Indian High Commissioner Ruchi Ghanashyam said the start of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) in 1964 has allowed India to boost people-to-people relations and enhance its ties with developing countries as it followed a strategy of economic and technical cooperation.
ITEC focuses on addressing the needs of developing countries through cooperation between India and the partnering nation.
Ghanashyam said the shared benefits were also in keeping with a commitment at the recent India-Africa Forum Summit hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
She said this at a function here to honour the 85 South African candidates who returned from the latest batch of 100 positions available to the country in the project.
"With Africa having a special place in India's development assistance programme, nearly 50 per cent of the ITEC slots, some 4,300 slots annually, is allotted to this continent," she said.
"The utilisation of slots in the last financial year was more than 80 per cent compared to previous years for both the countries. During the last eight years about 560 candidates from SA and 350 people from neighbouring Lesotho have utilised the ITEC scholarships."
South Africa is allotted 100 and neighbouring Lesotho 70 slots annually, with ITEC candidates from these countries generally opting for management, IT and accounting-related courses.
South Africans have been benefiting for a number of years now from the civilian training programmes, fully sponsored by the Indian government, with more than 280 courses, primarily short-term, being offered at 53 institutions.
Enver Surty, South African Deputy Minister for Basic Education, and Minister of Culture, Sports & Education in Mpumalanga province Norma Mahlangu-Mabena, highlighted the importance of education to strengthen South Africa's skills base and lauded India's assistance in this regard.
Surty cited the common links of a shared Gandhian heritage which created a special bond between India and South Africa.
Two of the candidates from this year's intake were Thabo Kiti, Acting Director of the Department of Trade & Industry, who attended a training programme on 'Cluster Development Executives' at the Enterprise Development Institute of Ahmedabad, Gujarat; and Roseline Ble, from the Pan African Parliament, who attended a certification course in Delhi for proficiency in English and Business Communication.
The two shared their experiences in India and pledged to use the skills they had learnt there to better their tasks in development in Africa.
Source : economictimes.indiatimes.com