New Delhi: Vice President Hamid Ansari will address the golden jubilee Summit of the African Union in Addis Ababa on Saturday, joining around ten select non-African partners of the 54-member grouping invited for the historic event.
Ansari, who will be leaving for the Ethiopian capital Friday night, is expected to focus on south-south cooperation and the road ahead especially in the fields of peace-keeping and security, cooperation in agriculture, information technology, HRD, education, trade and investment.
"Given India's close, strong, historic and present partnership with Africa, it is absolutely appropriate that India is presented at such a high level in the Summit. We are one of the very few select partners who have been invited by the African Union (AU)," Ravi Bangar, Joint Secretary (East and Southern) Africa in the External Affairs Ministry, said.
Besides India, the other select partners invited for the Summit of the top African leadership include the US, the European Union, France, Brazil, Russia, China, Jamaica, Palestine and the UAE.
Foreign dignitaries expected to attend the gathering include US Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese President Xi Jingping's special representative, Vice Premier Wang Yang.
On bilateral interactions of Ansari with leaders on the sidelines of the Summit, an MEA official said those were being worked out.
The significance of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the AU, and its earlier avatar of Organisation of African Unity, lies in two milestone achievements it has to its credit--the end of colonialism in the continent and that of the apartheid regime in South Africa, Bangar said.