Foreign Policy Watch: India-Africa

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Africa

Maritime border dispute between Kenya and Somalia

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Map marking of these countries

Mains level : Issues in Africa

In a move that is set to further undermine stability in East Africa, Kenya has said that it will not take part in proceedings of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over its maritime border dispute with neighbouring Somalia.

Can you recall the terms like “Scramble for Africa”, “Paper Partition of Africa”? If yes, then you know very well the malady of the present-day Continent of Africa.

What is the news?

  • Nairobi has accused the top UN body of bias.
  • The move comes after Somalia’s decision to sever diplomatic relations with Kenya in December after it accused Nairobi of meddling in its internal affairs.
  • The maritime dispute is said to form a crucial part of the diplomatic quarrel between the two countries.

The disputed area

  • The main point of disagreement between the two neighbours is the direction in which their maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean should extend.
  • According to Somalia, the sea border should be an extension of the same direction in which their land border runs as it approaches the Indian Ocean, i.e. towards the southeast.
  • Kenya, on the other hand, argues that the territorial southeast border should take a 45-degree turn as it reaches the sea, and then run in a latitudinal direction, i.e. parallel to the equator.
  • Such an arrangement would be advantageous for Kenya, whose coastline of 536 km is more than 6 times smaller than Somalia’s (3,333 km).

Why is this area important?

  • The triangular area thus created by the dispute is around 1.6 lakh sq km large and boasts of rich marine reserves.
  • It is also believed to have oil and gas deposits.
  • Both Somalia and Kenya have accused each other of auctioning off blocks from this area, Al Jazeera reported.

How have Kenya and Somalia tried to resolve the dispute?

  • After negotiations to resolve the issue bilaterally failed, Somalia in 2014 asked the ICJ to adjudicate.
  • Kenya resisted, arguing that the world court did not have jurisdiction to hear the case.
  • In 2009 both countries had a commitment to settle the dispute out of court.
  • However, in February 2017, the ICJ ruled that it did have the right to rule in the case, and in June 2019 said that it would begin public hearings.
  • These hearings never took place, as Kenya successfully applied to have them postponed thrice– the last one being in June 2020, when it cited difficulties due to the Covid-19.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Africa

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

Mains level : Horn of Africa Region

Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt have agreed on to resume negotiations to resolve their decade-long complex dispute over the Grand Renaissance Dam hydropower project in the Horn of Africa.

Note: You never know when UPSC might switch map based questions away from the Middle East and SE Asia.

Considering this news, the UPSC may ask a prelim question based on the countries swept by River Nile/ various dams constructed/ landlocked countries in the African continent etc.

Also read

[Burning Issue] Ethiopian Crisis and the Geopolitics

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

  • Spearheaded by Ethiopia, the 145-meter-tall (475-foot-tall) Grand Renaissance Dam hydropower project, when completed, will be Africa’s largest.
  • Its construction was initiated in 2011 on the Blue Nile tributary of the river that runs across one part of Ethiopia.
  • The Nile is a necessary water source in the region and Egypt has consistently objected to the dam’s construction, saying it will impact water flow.
  • The long-standing dispute has been a cause of concern for international observers who fear that it may increase conflict between the two nations and spill out into other countries in the Horn of Africa.

What is the dispute about?

  • The Nile, Africa’s longest river, has been at the centre of a decade-long complex dispute involving several countries that are dependent on the river’s waters.
  • At the forefront of this dispute are Ethiopia and Egypt, with Sudan having found itself dragged into the issue.
  • The main waterways of the Nile run through Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt, and its drainage basin runs through several countries in East Africa, including Ethiopia.

Concerns over the dam

  • Given the dam’s location on the Blue Nile tributary, it would potentially allow Ethiopia to gain control of the flow of the river’s waters.
  • Egypt lies further downstream and is concerned that Ethiopia’s control over the water could result in lower water levels within its own borders.
  • In addition, Egypt proposed a longer timeline for the project over concerns that the water level of the Nile could dramatically drop as the reservoir fills with water in the initial stages.
  • Sudan’s location between Egypt up north and Ethiopia down south has caused it to become an inadvertent party to this dispute.
  • But that isn’t all; Sudan to is concerned that if Ethiopia were to gain control over the river, it would affect the water levels Sudan receives.

Why does Ethiopia want this dam?

  • Ethiopia’s goal is to secure electricity for its population and to sustain and develop its growing manufacturing industry.
  • Addis Ababa anticipates that this dam will generate approximately 6,000 megawatts of electricity when it is completed, that can be distributed for the needs of its population and industries.
  • In addition to its domestic requirements, Ethiopia may sell surplus electricity to neighbouring nations like Kenya, Sudan, Eritrea and South Sudan, that also suffer from electricity shortages, to generate some revenue.

What lies ahead?

  • Despite previous talks, the point of contention hasn’t changed: Egypt and Sudan are concerned about the filling and the operation of the dam.
  • Ethiopia continues to insist that the dam is required to meet the needs of its population and has said that downstream water supplies will not be adversely affected.
  • Cairo insists that the dam would cut its water supplies — concerning for a country that depends on the Nile for approximately 97% of its drinking water and irrigation supplies.
  • Sudan believes that the dam will reduce flooding, but is concerned about the path forward if the negotiations end at a stalemate.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Africa

Fortifying the African outreach: Contrast in the approach adopted by China and India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : e-ITEC COVID-19 Management Strategies Training Webinar

Mains level : Paper 2- India-Africa relation

As both India and China try and vie for increasing the influence in the African continent, the difference in the approach they adopted become evident. Both countries have been providing assistance in Africa amid the COVID pandemic. This article analyses the difference in the approach of the two countries.

Impact of covid pandemic in Africa

  • Although African countries moved quickly to curb the initial spread, they are still woefully ill-equipped to cope with a public health emergency.
  • They are facing shortages of masks, ventilators, and even basic necessities such as soap and water.
  • Such conditions have meant that Africa’s cycle of chronic external aid dependence continues.
  • Africa needs medical protective equipment and gear to support its front line public health workers.
  • India and China have increased their outreach to Africa through medical assistance.
  • Their efforts are directed to fill a part of the growing African need at a time when not many others have stepped in to help.

China’s donation diplomacy in Africa

  • China, being Africa’s largest trading partner, was quick to signal its intent to help Africa cope with the pandemic.
  • It despatched medical protective equipment, testing kits, ventilators, and medical masks to several African countries.
  • The primary motive of such donations has been to raise Beijing’s profile as a leading provider of humanitarian assistance and “public goods” in the global public health sector.
  • China’s billionaire philanthropy was also in full display when tech founder Jack Ma donated three rounds of anti-coronavirus supplies.
  • Chinese embassies across Africa have taken the lead by coordinating both public and private donations to local stakeholders.
  • However, the sub-optimal quality of China’s medical supplies and its deputing of medical experts have been a major cause for concern.

Let’s understand the objectives of China’s donation diplomacy

  • Beijing’s ‘donation diplomacy’ in Africa aims to achieve three immediate objectives:
  • 1) Shift the focus away from talking about the origins of the virus in Wuhan.
  • 2) Build goodwill overseas.
  • 3) Establish an image makeover.
  • For the most part, it succeeded in achieving these ends until China faced widespread backlash over the ill-treatment of African nationals in Guangzhou city.
  • The issue quickly grew into a full-blown political crisis for Beijing.

Let’s analyse the depth of China’s political influence in Africa

  • For the most part, China has been successful in controlling the Guangzhou narrative due to the depth of its political influence in Africa.
  • It is no secret that China relies heavily on diplomatic support and cooperation from African countries on key issues in multilateral fora.
  • For example, Beijing used African support for securing a win for Chinese candidates as the head of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and in the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • On Africa’s part, the problem lies in the deep disjuncture and credibility gap between Africa’s governing class, the people, the media and civil society.
  • Even when criticisms have been levelled against Chinese indiscretions, it has hardly ever surfaced at the elite level.
  • Overall, China’s donation diplomacy towards Africa during COVID-19 has received mixed reactions, but Beijing’s advantage lies in its economic heft and political influence in Africa.

Understanding India’s diplomacy in Africa: Responsible and reliable global stakeholder

  • For India, the pandemic presents an opportunity to demonstrate its willingness and capacity to shoulder more responsibility.
  • The fact that even with limited resources, India can fight the virus at home while reaching out to developing countries in need is testament to India’s status as a responsible and reliable global stakeholder.
  • Nowhere has India’s developmental outreach been more evident than in Africa with the continent occupying a central place in Indian government’s foreign and economic policy in the last six years.
  • Africa has been the focus of India’s development assistance and also diplomatic outreach, as evident in plans to open 18 new embassies.
  • These efforts have been supplemented by an improved record of Indian project implementation in Africa.

Trade ties and cooperation amid pandemic

  • India’s role as ‘the pharmacy of the world’, as the supplier of low-cost, generic medicines is widely acknowledged.
  • Pharmaceutical products along with refined petroleum products account for 40% of India’s total exports to African markets.
  • India is sending consignments of essential medicines, including hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and paracetamol, to 25 African countries in addition to doctors and paramedics at a total cost of around ₹600 million ($7.9 million) on a commercial and grant basis.
  • The initial beneficiaries were the African Indian Ocean island nations of Mauritius, the Seychelles, Comoros, and Madagascar under India’s ‘Mission Sagar’.
  • While transportation and logistics remain a concern, most of the consignments have already reached various African states.
  • A timely initiative has been the e-ITEC COVID-19 management strategies training webinars exclusively aimed at training health-care professionals from Africa and the SAARC nations and sharing of best practices by Indian health experts.
  • Nigeria, Kenya, Mauritius, and Namibia have been beneficiaries.
  • Across Africa, there is a keen interest to understand the developments and best practices in India because the two share similar socioeconomic and developmental challenges.
  • There is also growing interest in research and development in drugs and vaccines.
  • A few African countries such as Mauritius are pushing for health-care partnerships in traditional medicines and Ayurveda for boosting immunity.
  • The Indian community, especially in East African countries, has also been playing a crucial role in helping spread awareness.
  • Prominent Indian businessmen and companies in Nigeria and Kenya have donated money to the respective national emergency response funds.
  • Country-specific chapters of gurdwaras and temples have fed thousands of families by setting up community kitchens, helplines for seniors and distributing disinfectants and sanitisers.

The contrast between approaches adopted by India and China

  • Both India and China, through their respective health and donation diplomacy, are vying to carve a space and position for themselves as reliable partners of Africa in its time of need.
  • Burnishing their credentials as humanitarian champions is the name of the game.
  • But there are significant differences in the approaches.
  • For China, three aspects are critical:
  • 1) Money, political influence and elite level wealth creation.
  • 2) Strong state-to-state relations as opposed to people-to-people ties.
  • 3) Hard-infrastructure projects and resource extraction.
  • India’s approach, on the other hand, is one that focuses on building local capacities and an equal partnership with Africans and not merely with African elites concerned.

Consider the question “Both India and China have been playing an active role in the African continent and vying for the outreach there. But there is a fundamental difference in their approach. Comment.”

Conclusion

As these two powers rise in Africa, their two distinct models will come under even greater scrutiny. And both New Delhi and Beijing might find that they need to adapt to the rising aspirations of the African continent.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Africa

Deepening India’s engagement with Africa amid pandemic

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : India-Africa Forum summit

Mains level : Paper 3- Scope to increase the ties between India and Africa amid covid pandemic.

Long thought to be the backwater of the world, Africa has been successful in shading its past image and emerge on the global stage as region hard to ignore. And countries across the world are vying to increase their engagement with the region. This article examines the scope for increasing the ties with the region amid the pandemic.

India’s association with African Union

  • Africa Day is observed every year on May 25 to commemorate the founding of the Organisation of African Unity, now known as the African Union.
  • India has been closely associated with it on account of its shared colonial past and rich contemporary ties.
  • The Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses has hosted an Africa Day Round Table annually for the last four years in order to commemorate this epochal event.

Economy and pandemic

  • The World Bank in its April report, assessed that the COVID-19 outbreak has sparked off the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region’s first recession in 25 years.
  • Growth is expected to plummet to between -2.1 and -5.1 per cent in 2020, from a modest 2.4 per cent in 2019.
  • With high rates of HIV, malaria, diabetes, hypertension and malnourishment prevalent, a large number of Africans were already faced with a health and economic crisis.
  • The steep decline in commodity prices has spelt disaster for the economies of Nigeria, Zambia and Angola.

Need for financial support

  • Precarious fiscal positions have ruled out any major governmental stimulus.
  • Public debt has mounted.
  • According to the World Bank, the SSA region paid $35.8 billion in total debt service in 2018.
  • Which is 2.1 per cent of regional gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Together, African countries have sought a $100 billion rescue package.
  • This rescue package includes a $44 billion waiver of interest payment by the world’s 20 largest economies.
  • The IMF’s debt service relief of $500 million is meant for 25 countries of which 19 are in Africa, but that is a drop in the bucket.
  • It is clear that without outside support, Africa will find it very difficult to meet the challenge.

Why the increased interest in engagement with Africa?

  • Africa’s rich natural resources, long-term economic potential, youthful demography and influence as a bloc of 54 countries in multi-lateral organisations is apparent.
  • Many have an eye for economic opportunities, including in energy, mining, infrastructure and connectivity. 
  • Japan hosted the 7th Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD) in August 2019.
  • Russia hosted the first-ever Russia-Africa Summit last year.
  • Brazil, home to the largest population of people of African descent outside of Africa, has also sought to develop closer ties.
  • Cuba has sent medical teams to help Africa.

Chinese Bonhomie with the region

  • China’s engagement of Africa, as elsewhere, is huge but increasingly regarded as predatory and exploitative.
  • Its annual trade with Africa in 2019 stood at $208 billion, in addition to investments and loans worth $200 billion.
  • Traditionally, China’s participation in infrastructure projects has been astonishing.
  • Having famously built the 1,860 km Tanzania-Zambia railway line in 1975, and the Addis Ababa-Djibouti and Mombasa-Nairobi lines more recently, China is now eyeing to develop the vast East Africa Master Railway Plan.
  • It is also developing the Trans-Maghreb Highway, the Mambilla Hydropower Plant in Nigeria, the Walvis Bay Container Terminal in Windhoek and the Caculo Cabaca Hydropower project in Angola.
  • At the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (COCAC) in 2018, China set aside $60 billion in developmental assistance.
  • And it was followed by a whopping $1 billion Belt and Road (BRI) Infrastructure Fund for Africa.
  • China has followed up with robust health sector diplomacy in the wake of the pandemic.
  • But its image has been tarnished by defective supplies of PPE gear and discriminatory behaviour against Africans in Guangzhou.
  • This also led to an embarrassing diplomatic row.

India’s relations with Africa

  • In the last few years, India’s relations with Africa saw a revival.
  • India-Africa trade reached $62 billion in 2018 compared to $39 billion during 2009-10.
  • After South Asia, Africa is the second-largest recipient of Indian overseas assistance with Lines of Credit (LOC) worth nearly $10 billion (42 per cent of the total) spread over 100 projects in 41 countries.
  • Ties were boosted at the India Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) in 2015.
  • 40 per cent of all training and capacity building slots under the ITEC programme have traditionally been reserved for Africa.
  • Approximately 6,000 Indian soldiers are deployed in UN peace-keeping missions in five conflict zones in Africa.
  • Bilateral cooperation includes solar energy development, information technology, cyber security, maritime security, disaster relief, counter-terrorism and military training.
  • India has also launched several initiatives to develop closer relations, including the first-ever India Africa Defence Ministers conclave in February this year on the margins of the Defence Expo 2020.
  • India provides about 50,000 scholarships to African students each year.
  • The huge Indian diaspora is a major asset.
  • India had planned to host the Fourth India Africa Forum Summit in September this year.
  • However, the COVID-19 pandemic may cause it to be delayed.

India’s support amid covid pandemic

  • India has already despatched medical assistance to 25 African countries.
  • PM Modi has had a telephonic talk with President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa who is the current chairperson of the African Union, and separately others such as the presidents of Uganda and Ethiopia.
  • India could consider structuring a series of virtual summits in zonal groups with African leaders across the continent over the next few months.
  • That could both provide a platform for a cooperative response to the pandemic and also serve as a precursor to the actual summit in the future.
  • The Ministry of External Affairs has already extended the e-ITEC course on “COVID-19 Pandemic: Prevention and Management Guidelines for Healthcare Professionals” to healthcare workers in Africa.
  • The Aarogya Setu App and the E-Gram Swaraj App for rural areas for mapping COVID-19 are technological achievements that could be shared with Africa.
  • Since the movement of African students to India for higher education has been disrupted, India may expand the e-VidyaBharti (tele education) project to establish an India-Africa Virtual University. Agriculture and food security can also be a fulcrum for deepening ties.
  • With the locust scourge devastating the Horn of Africa and the pandemic worsening the food crisis, India could ramp up its collaboration in this sector.
  • India could also create a new fund for Africa and adapt its grant-in-aid assistance to reflect the current priorities.
  • This could include support for new investment projects by Indian entrepreneurs especially in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors in Africa.

Time for Quad Plus to propose cooperation with African countries

  • Both India and Japan share a common interest in forging a partnership for Africa’s development.
  • It is time for the Quad Plus, in which the US, India, Japan and Australia have recently engaged other countries such as the ROK, Vietnam, New Zealand, Israel and Brazil, to exchange views and propose cooperation with select African countries abutting the Indian Ocean.
  • After all, the Indo-Pacific straddles the entire maritime space of the Indian Ocean.

Consider the 2015 question asked by the UPSC “Increasing interest of India in Africa has its pros and cons. Critically examine”

Conclusion

The pandemic is a colossal challenge but it may create fresh opportunities to bring India and Africa closer together.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Africa

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on Nile and Various Issues

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nile River, GERD

Mains level : Not Much

Africa’s longest river, the Nile, has been at the centre of a decade-long complex dispute involving several countries in the continent who are dependent on the river’s waters. At the forefront of this dispute, however, are Ethiopia and Egypt.

Note: You never know when UPSC might switch map based questions away from the Middle East and SE Asia.

Considering this news, the UPSC may ask a prelim question based on the countries swept by River Nile/ various dams constructed/ landlocked countries in the African continent etc.

Grand Ethiopian Rennaissance Dam (GERD)

 

  • GERD is a gravity dam on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia that has been under construction since 2011.
  • At 6.45 gigawatts, the dam will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa when completed, as well as the seventh-largest in the world.
  • Once completed, the reservoir could take anywhere between 5 and 15 years to fill with water, depending on hydrologic conditions during the filling period and agreements reached between Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt.

Issues with the Dam

  • While the main waterways of the Nile run through Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt, its drainage basin runs through other countries in East Africa, including Ethiopia.
  • Egypt has objected to the construction of this dam and in Sudan has found itself caught in the midst of this conflict.
  • Due to the importance of the Nile as a necessary water source in the region, observers are concerned that this dispute may evolve into a full-fledged conflict between the two nations.
  • The US has stepped in to mediate.

How can this lead to conflict?

  • The mega project may just allow the country to control the river’s waters, and this is essentially what concerns Egypt because it lies downstream.
  • Egypt has objected to these plans and has proposed a longer timeline for the project because it does not want the water level of the Nile to dramatically drop as the reservoir fills with water in the initial stages.
  • For the past four years, triparty talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have been unable to reach agreements. Egypt isn’t alone in its concerns.
  • Sudan is hardly a passive observer caught in the conflict just because of its location.
  • It too believes Ethiopia having control over the river through the dam may affect its own water supplies.

Why does Ethiopia want this dam?

  • Ethiopia believes this dam will generate approximately 6,000 megawatts of electricity when it is done.
  • 65% of Ethiopia’s population suffers due to lack of access to electricity.
  • This dam will reduce those shortages and help the country’s manufacturing industry.
  • The country may also be able to supply electricity to neighbouring nations and earn some revenue in exchange.
  • Neighbouring countries like Kenya, Sudan, Eritrea and South Sudan also suffer from electricity shortages.
  • If Ethiopia sells electricity to these nations, they may also reap benefits.

What is happening now?

  • In the latest developments on this front, Egypt announced that it is willing to resume negotiations with Ethiopia and Sudan concerning the dam.
  • Ethiopia has however proceeded with the first stage of filling the dam saying that it does not need Egypt’s permission to fill the dam.
  • In the letter to the UNSC, Egypt also implied that the dam would cause armed conflict between the two countries.

Back2Basics: River Nile

  • The Nile is a major north-flowing river in northeastern Africa.
  • It is the longest river in Africa and the disputed longest river in the world as the Brazilian government says that the Amazon River is longer than the Nile.
  • The Nile is about 6,650 km long and its drainage basin covers eleven countries: Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Republic of Sudan, and Egypt.
  • In particular, the Nile is the primary water source of Egypt and Sudan.
  • The Nile has two major tributaries – the White Nile and the Blue Nile. The White Nile is considered to be the headwaters and primary stream of the Nile itself.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Africa

[pib] Lucknow Declaration

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Lucknow Declaration

Mains level : India-Africa Framework for Strategic Cooperation

The first India-Africa Defence Ministers’ Conclave held in Lucknow has adopted the Lucknow Declaration.

India-Africa Framework for Strategic Cooperation

The declaration:

  • Acknowledges contribution of Indian defence forces in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in Africa.
  • It appreciates initiation of Africa India Field Training Exercises with the first ever AFINDEX in March 2019 and agree that it will further strengthen cooperation in defence preparedness and security.
  • The vision is to achieve ‘a conflict-free Africa, prevent genocide, make peace a reality for all and rid the continent of wars, violent conflicts, human rights violations, and humanitarian disasters.
  • It call for deeper cooperation in the domain of defence industry including through investment, joint ventures in defence equipment software, digital defence, research & development etc.
  • It recognizes the common security challenges such as terrorism and extremism, piracy, organised crime including human trafficking, drug trafficking, weapon smuggling and others.
  • The members endorsed initiatives such as African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), Silence The Guns in Africa and Agenda 2063.
  • It calls for strengthening the UN Counter-Terrorism mechanisms and to ensure strict compliance with the UN Security Council sanctions regime on terrorism.
  • It urged the international community to envisage the adoption of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the UNGA.
  • The members recognized the importance of the oceans and seas to the livelihoods of our peoples and that Maritime security is a pre-requisite for the development of Blue or Ocean economy.
  • It sought to increase cooperation in securing sea lines of communication, preventing maritime crimes, disaster, piracy, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing through sharing of information and surveillance.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Africa

[op-ed snap] Fortifying the Africa outreach

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : India Africa bilateral; economic relations

CONTEXT

President Ram Nath Kovind commenced his seven-day state visit to Benin, Gambia and Guinea-Conakry and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh arrived in on a three-day visit to Mozambique.

Economic links

  • During the past five years, Indian leaders have paid 29 visits to African countries. Forty-one African leaders participated in the last India-Africa Forum Summit in 2015, where India agreed to provide concessional credit worth $10 billion during the next five years. By 2017, India had cumulatively extended 152 Lines of Credit worth $8 billion to 44 African countries.
  • India has also unilaterally provided free access to its market for the exports of 33 least developed African countries.
  • India escalated its commitments to Africa in an era of low-commodity prices when most other partners, including China, have scaled back theirs.
  • Its trade with Africa totalled $63.3 billion in 2018-19. India was ranked the third-largest trading partner of Africa having edged past the United States during the year.
  • Indians’ investments at $50 billion and Indian diaspora at 3 million are substantive when put in the continental perspective

Challenges:

  • The numbers are well below the potential for India-African economic synergy and are often dwarfed by the corresponding Chinese data.
  • There seems to be a conspicuous disconnect between Indian developmental assistance to and India’s economic engagement with Africa.
  • Any objective cost-benefit analysis of India’s development assistance to Africa is unlikely to impress. From the demand to remove the statues of Mahatma Gandhi in Ghana to the travails of Indian investors in Africa, from the occasional demonisation of the long-standing Indian community to the non-recognition of Indian academic degrees, India’s large developmental footprint in Africa does not produce commensurate empathy.
  • India’s aid being unconditional, the recipients often take it as an entitlement.

Way ahead:

  • Integrate the development assistance and economic engagement for a more comprehensive and sustainable engagement. It would also facilitate aided pilot projects being scaled up seamlessly into commercially viable joint ventures.
  • India’s aid to Africa should be reciprocated by acknowledgement and quid pro quo in terms of and institutional preference. India cannot simply be a cash cow for Africa, particularly when its own economy is slowing down.
  • We need to ask ourselves these: for all the development billions spent, how many mega-projects did Indian companies get and how many natural resources does India have access to in Africa?
  • We need to take direct control of our development programme instead of handing our funds to intermediaries such as the African Union, the African Development Bank Group and the Techno-Economic Approach for Africa-India Movement (TEAM 9), whose priorities are often different from India’s.
  • Our aid should be disbursed bilaterally and aligned with national priorities of the recipient state, which should be a substantial stakeholder and co-investor in schemes and projects from initiation to operation.
  • India’s development assistance should prefer the countries with their substantial interests. For instance, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Angola and Algeria are India’s top six trading partners in Africa, accounting for nearly two-thirds of its trade and half its exports to the continent; yet, they do not figure commensurately in India’s developmental pecking order. India’s own needs for raw materials, commodities and markets should be factored in its aid calculus
  • We ought to prefer aiding countries which are willing to help us — from access to their natural resources to using our generics
  • The aided project selected should be compatible with local requirements. They should be cost-effective, scalable, future-ready and commercially replicable.
  • For greater transparency, India should prefer its public sector to implement the aid projects
  • Indian Head of Mission in the recipient African state must be an integral part of the aid stream including project selection, coordination and implementation.

The aforementioned should not distract us from our duty to provide the needed humanitarian assistance to Africa: to be rendered promptly and with sensitivity, but without noise.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Africa

[op-ed of the day] A shot at economic logic

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing Much

Mains level : Scope of African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) for India

Note- Op-ed of the day is the most important editorial of the day. Aspirants should try to cover at least this editorial on a daily basis to have command over most important issues in news. It will help in enhancing and enriching the content in mains answers. Please do not miss at any cost.

CONTEXT

The 12th Extra-Ordinary Summit of the African Union (AU) which concluded on July 8 at Niamey, the capital of the Niger Republic, saw 54 of 55 of its member states signing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) for goods and services. If taken to its logical conclusion, this audacious project would eventually create an African Common Market of 1.2 billion people and a GDP of over $3.4 billion — the metrics are comparable to India’s. The AfCFTA would be world’s largest FTA, and in a world dependent on African markets and commodities, it would have global impact.

Challenges 

However, there are three main reasons to be sceptical about the viability of the AfCFTA.

  1. Largely ineffective
  • First, the African Union (founded as the Organisation of African Unity in 1963) has been largely ineffective in dealing with the continent’s myriad problems such as decolonisation, underdevelopment, Islamic terrorism and the Arab Spring.
  • The AU’s grand plans, including the Muammar Qadhafi-funded Africa Unity project, have been spectacular flops.
  • It is, therefore, natural to take the AfCFTA, the AU’s most ambitious project so far, with a ladleful of salt.

2. Weak Economies

  • Second, serious political, organisational and logistical challenges to the AfCFTA notwithstanding, the national economies in Africa are generally weak with a low manufacturing base.
  • They also lack competitiveness and mutual complementarity.
  • Only a sixth of Africa’s current total trade is within the continent.

3. Countercyclical to the global trends

  • Third, the AfCFTA seems to be countercyclical to the ongoing global protectionist trends as seen in the U.S.-China trade conflict, Brexit and the stalemates at the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
  • World trade is likely to grow only by 2.6% in 2019, a quarter of last year’s figure.
  • Commodity prices are stagnant and globalisation is often being reversed.

Reasons for optimism

  • Collective self-reliance –  Given the strong global headwinds including a cooling Chinese ardour for Africa, greater collective self-reliance through African economic integration makes eminent sense.
  • Regional economic blocks – Further, the AfCFTA can build upon the experience of the continent’s five regional economic blocks.
  •  Extensive road map – While the AU Commission is not famous for efficient planning, it has prepared an extensive road map towards the AfCFTA with preliminary work on steps such as incremental tariff reduction, elimination of non-tariff barriers, supply chains and dispute settlement.
  • Moreover, vigorous “informal” trade across porous national borders is already a fact of African life.
  • A surge in consumer base – Looking into the future, a recent UN projection showed that nearly half the world’s population growth between now and 2050 would come from sub-Saharan Africa, the population of which would double to nearly two billion. This surge in consumer base would make the proposed AfCFTA even more important.

From the Indian angle

  • Africa is already an important economic partner for India with total annual merchandise trade estimated at $70 billion or nearly a tenth of our global trade.
  • India is Africa’s third largest trading partner.
  • While India’s global exports have been largely stagnant, those to Africa have surged. For instance, exports to Nigeria in 2018-19 grew by over 33% over the previous year.
  • Africa still has unfulfilled demand for Indian commodities, especially foodstuff, finished products (automobiles, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods) and services such as IT/IT-Enabled Service, health care and education, skilling, expertise in management and banking, financial services and insurance.

Ways to engage more with Africa

  • Co-production – While local manufactured items and services may ultimately compete with Indian exports, Indian firms can co-produce them in Africa.
  • New Avenues – If handled in a proactive manner, the AfCFTA is likely to open new opportunities for Indian stakeholders in fast-moving consumer goods manufacturing, connectivity projects and the creation of a financial backbone. India donated $15 million to Niger to fund the Niamey AU Summit.
  • Help the AU Commission – As the next step, New Delhi can help the AU Commission prepare the requisite architecture, such as common external tariffs, competition policy, intellectual property rights, and natural persons’ movement.
  • African transnational corporations  – It can also identify various African transnational corporations which are destined to play a greater role in a future continental common market and engage with them strategically.
  • Indian Diaspora – The cross-linkages of a three million strong Indian diaspora spread across Africa can also be very valuable.
  • Finally, once the AfCFTA is accepted as beneficial game changer, the African elite could perhaps contemplate crossing another Rubicon: an India-African FTA.

Conclusion

Before Africa was “discovered” by the West, it had a thriving overland trade. Large camel caravans ferried commodities such as ivory, gold, mineral salt, precious stones and slaves across prosperous trading centres such as Timbuktu, Ghana, Kano, Burnu, Agadez, Edo, Zinder, Ghat, Addis Ababa, Dar es Salaam and Cairo. Subsequent colonialism and mercantilism destroyed internal trade routes, replacing them with an ecosystem in which Africans had better links with their foreign “mentors” than among themselves. By the AfCFTA, the Africans are only trying to correct this historic distortion.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Africa

Explained: Why India-South Africa relations are unique

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Red Fort Declaration

Mains level: India’s recent Africa focus and its strategic as well as economic importance


News

Background

  1. President Cyril Ramaphosa of the South Africa was the Chief Guest at the 70th Republic Day
  2. This is the second time a South African Head of State is Chief Guest for Republic Day — the first occasion was in 1995 with late Nelson Mandela.

India and South Africa

  1. India’s relations with South Africa go back centuries and have a powerful emotional component.
  2. It is here that Mahatma Gandhi began his political career, and over the decades of the 20th century, India stood solidly behind their struggle against apartheid.

Historical Significance

  1. India was the first country to sever trade relations with the apartheid government, and subsequently imposed a complete — diplomatic, commercial, cultural and sports — official ban on South Africa.
  2. India worked consistently to put the issue of apartheid on the agenda of the UN, NAM and other multilateral organizations and for the imposition of comprehensive international sanctions against South Africa.
  3. The African National Congress (ANC) maintained a representative office in New Delhi from the 1960s onwards.
  4. India actively worked for the AFRICA Fund to help sustain the struggle through support to the frontline states.
  5. In March 1997, during the visit of President Mandela to India, the two countries signed the historic Red Fort Declaration for Strategic Partnership between India and South Africa.

Red Fort Declaration

  1. South Africa achieved democracy in 1994, it was the Red Fort Declaration on Strategic Partnership between India and South Africa, signed in March 1997 by which set the parameters for a rekindled relationship.
  2. The 20th anniversary of signing of the declaration was commemorated by an India-South African cultural extravaganza at High Commission of India, Pretoria on April 9, 2017.
  3. This Strategic Partnership between the two countries was again re-affirmed in the Tshwane Declaration (October 2006).
  4. Both these declarations have been instrumental mechanisms that has contributed in the past to both South Africa and India for achieving their respective national objectives.

Growth in Bilateral Trade

  1. India’s has had fairly flourishing commercial relations with South Africa since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1993.
  2. However, despite bilateral trade having been “on the upswing”, having “crossed the $10-billion benchmark in 2017-18.

Way Forward

  1. The uniquely intertwined histories of India and South Africa have ensured that the bonds much deeper than we generally realize.
  2. The partnership is about a shared and prosperous future, which realizes the dreams of Madiba and Mahatma for our people.

For more comprehensive reading on India-South Africa Relations, must navigate to:

Observer Research Foundation

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Africa

[pib] IAFTX- 2019

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: IAFTX

Mains level:  India’s role in UN Peacekeeping Missions


News

IAFTX 2019

  1. The joint exercise named ‘India-Africa Field Training’ is being conducted with an aim to synergise United Nations peacekeeping operations.
  2. Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique and Uganda will be participating in the joint military exercise.
  3. It scheduled to be conducted at Aundh Military Station and College of Military Engineering, Pune from 18 March to 27 March 2019.
  4. The joint training exercise is being conducted with more than a dozen African countries & India.

Benefits

  1. The IAFTX-2019 is a positive step towards growing political and military ties with the member nations of African continent.
  2. It aims at synergizing humanitarian mine action and joint peace operations.
  3. It will boost the already strong strategic cooperation between the countries.

 

  • India and the African countries are in news lately, however the ties between the two regions date back to the ancient civilizations. Along with geographical proximity, there are factors such as the cultural connect, colonial past and development hurdles that are more or less common to both and thus bring each other much closer.
  • In this context it can be rightly said that through cooperation if the opportunities of these two regions is utilized, then there cannot be anything bigger in the geopolitical world scenario today than this cooperation.
  • Although triggered by the unfortunate racist attacks, however in this article we would try to learn and focus on the historical ties, how this relationship moved ahead and where do we stand today. This article intends to make the learners aware about the two regions in the most comprehensive manner and build a base for future understanding and correlation with the topic.

Backgrounder:

  • Once known as the ‘dark continent’ by the colonial exploiters due to inaccessibility into the interiors of the continent
  • The geographical proximity between the two was an important factor for building up relations during the ancient and the colonial period

Ancient Period

  • During the ancient period, the Indian merchants were in the constant look out beyond the Arabian Sea towards the west for lucrative markets. Slowly, the increasing people-to-people contacts made them a part of Indian Ocean circuit of trade’
  • They sailed regularly to the Zenj coast (Zanzibar) for palm oil, gold, copper, spices, ivory, rhino horn etc.
  • They sold cloth, metal implements, foodstuff like wheat, rice and jaggery, besides porcelain and glassware
  • Trade developed through the knowledge of favourable sea winds and the development of a suitable marine technology
  • Periplus of Erythrean Sea, a first century AD merchants’ sailor guide throws light on the thriving trade between India and the Western Indian Ocean region
  • It also stated that India’s trading contacts were spread from Egypt to coastal to northern Somalia, ancient land of Punt, kingdom of Kush (Sudan) and Axum

 

Islamic Era 

  • Indian presence in Africa is also seen during the Islamic age. The Venetian traveller Marco Polo mentioned explicitly about the Gujarati and Saurashtrian merchants on Africa’s east coast
  • The use of Indian system of weights and measures and Cowries as currency, pointed to the fact that Indians were playing a key role in this area
  • Not only economic benefits, the trade also contributed to the development of internal links in the African continent even before the advent of Europeans
  • By seventeenth century, the nature of Indian Ocean trade underwent a radical change due to demand for captives who could be sold as slaves.

During the medieval time the Africans came to India and were part of the muslim rule in India

  • A good example could be of ‘Malik Amber’ and the ‘Siddis’ who are still a part of the Indian population and are settled in parts of Gujarat, Karnataka and Hyderabad

 

Advent of Colonialism

  • With the advent of European colonial powers in India and Africa, the trade pattern underwent a significant change as Indo–African relations entered a new era of ‘colonialism’
  • During the colonialism period, trade continued and also started the slave trade
  • The Indians who went to Africa as slaves and post abolition of slavery, as the indentured labourers, and the merchant class of Gujarat slowly settled down there
  • India’s link with the African continent dates back to the anti-apartheid struggle of Mahatma Gandhi with the colonial rulers in South Africa
  • India has been aggressively putting forward the issue of apartheid on multilateral forums such as UN, NAM And Commonwealth

Post-Colonial Period

The foundations were laid by Mahatma Gandhi. According to him, there will be a “commerce of ideas and services and not of raw materials and goods like imperialist powers”. The present government continues to take this approach as the foundation of India’s Africa Policy. According to Vice President Hamid Ansari, “ India shares Africa’s dreams and India Africa cooperation is genuine 2 way street partnership

Relations uptill 1960:

Nehru talked about Afro Asian solidarity. African countries provided strength to Nehru’s NAM. The policy in this phase is described as “ideational” and “pragmatic”

2nd phase (1970s – 1990s):

There was neglect of Africa because of India’s attention on South Asia and India’s attention on inward looking foreign policy. Though India in this phase continued to support Africa against Apartheid.

3rd phase (1990s onwards):

This is the phase of reengagement with Africa. However the lead was taken by private sector, rather than government. Private sector of India should be given credit to push attention of GoI towards the region of strategic and economic importance.

Present status of relations:

Since 2008, India and Africa relations have been institutionalized. India has started engagement with African Union (Pan African Platform). So far 3 summits have been organized under the aegis of India Africa Forum Summit. It is to be noted that the approach of GoI is also influenced by China. China has also initiated the Forum for Africa and China cooperation in the year 2000.

Importance of Africa:

Geostrategic

  • Africa is critical to India’s security, especially the Horn of Africa region, because of its proximity with India. The threat of radicalism, piracy, organized crime emerge from this region

Economic

  • Africa can help us in diversifying our energy sources, which is one of the stated objective of our Integrated Energy Policy
  • Africa also contains rich reservoir of valuable minerals, metals including gold and diamond
  • Africa provides a space for Indian investment
  • Africa has ample agricultural land which cab address India’s food security. India is looking at leasing land in Africa to overcome the land deficit that we face in terms of arable land

Geopolitical

  • Support of African countries is important for India’s aim of gaining a permanent seat in UNSC
  • Africa provides a space for displaying both India’s soft and hard power
  • India has been actively involved in peace and stability of African countries through UN Peace keeping operations. India is involved in capacity building of African countries. Africa is also the largest beneficiary of India’s ITEC programme

History of India Africa Relations: India Africa Relations

Strategies adopted by Indian government:

  • Pan African level engagement
  • Partnership with regional organization
  • Development partnership through IBSA and BRICS
  • Bilateral engagement with countries
  • Involving Indian communities and Indian Diaspora

Whether India’s relationship with Africa should be seen through Chinese prism?

  • While China has been in Africa’s infrastructure, mining, oil and natural gas sectors for many years, India, despite moving late, has worked through training, education and capacity-building programmes — which have been very well-received by the countries.
  • China is developing series of important ports in Africa on the western and eastern coast right uptill Mediterranean and building rail linkages to connect to those ports
  • Over the last 15 years, India-Africa trade has gone up 20 times, and reached, according to the government, $ 70 billion.
  • Indian investment in Africa is between $ 30 billion and $ 35 billion.
  • India has given concessional credit to the tune of $ 7.4 billion, of which $ 5 billon has been disbursed. The credit lines have helped create 137 projects in 41 countries.
  • A Pan-African e-Network for education and health is functional in 48 countries.
  • Since 2008, India has extended 40,000 scholarships to African countries under ITEC programme

Thus it would be wrong to conclude that India’s African outreach is with a view to counter China’s expanding influencing in the region.

Moreover Chinese strategy of exporting Chinese labour as part of its push to create excess capacity abroad to counter unemployment in China is rattling the African population. There have been protests against the discriminatory employment practices of China in matters of employment in Nigeria, Kenya etc.

Challenges India faces from the presence of countries like U.S in Africa

  • S trade with Africa initially was high because of its strategy to reduce dependence of middle East oil and hence they went for greater purchase from Africa. With shale revolution in USA, trade volume has declined.
  • USA still involved in infrastructural development, export of commodities (food stuff, refined products), export of equipments, projects for Mineral exploration. All these fields are also what India is interested in. Same is the case with china
  • USA along with China has also been offering soft loans which are being lapped up by capital starved African nations

Shortcomings of U.S (and other developed countries) involvement

  • S products are too costly for African customers compared to Indian and Chinese products
  • Export of raw materials to USA unlikely to grow a lot because of relative stagnation of GDP growth rate of U.S economy compared to India and china
  • USA’s involvement in building transport infra etc can lead to increased sale of Indian cars etc which are cheaper
  • Development of African primary industries by these countries can lead to increased exports to India

Shortcomings of India’s involvement in Africa

  • In terms of cheque book diplomacy, India can not compete with China or U.S. Some of the African countries, even the richer ones like Nigeria, expect India to bear gifts for them under IAFS. However India asserts for joint endeavour for better development
  • India abrogates its responsibility in terms of mid stream and down stream delivery processes, instead relying on multilateral agencies like African Union. This leads to India losing credit for a project despite the financial, technological backing it gives
  • India contributed a lot more than other countries in terms of ebola relief but did not highlight it. Indian assistance was largely through multilateral forums and in a piecemeal manner

Impact of IAFS process so far:

  • India has committed unprecedented level of resources to Africa (in soft loans and grants). $5bn in soft loans, half a billion dollars in grants, institution building and training fellowship to Africa
  • Earlier in IAFS 1 India had offered DFQF (Duty Free Quota Free) access to LDCs of Africa
  • Increased people to people contact as observed in the increasing flow of medical tourists, students, trainees and Indian entrepreneurs and experts.
  • IAFS process has also given a boost to cultural and information contact and mutual awareness
  • Growth in India’s trade and investment activities has partially slowed down due to the effects of recession.

SWOT analysis

Strength

  • Indian diaspora in Africa to be leveraged for involvement in building social infra
  • Similar socio economic challenges and historical linkages
  • Indian developmental model more in line with Africa’s needs
  • Private sector involvement in Africa. India’s private sector is involved in 2x more Greenfield projects as compared to Chinese counterparts. Another advantage that India has, in any projects it employs local people thereby generating employment, earning goodwill. China exports Chinese labour.

Weakness

  • Multiple competing interests present. China and USA are the top 2 trading partners
  • Chequebook diplomacy can not be done by India
  • Lack of emphasis on bilateral relationships instead engaging mostly through forums like IAFS

Opportunities

  • Shift from line of credit approach to private sector involvement which would help in providing loans at cheaper interest rate, risk mitigation
  • Better organized, more coherent and faster responding mechanism accompanied by an appropriate media campaign required for highlighting India’s contribution

Threats

  • Bureaucratic hurdle in trade expansion as we interact largely with African Union. We have focus on nations individually to take projects forward
  • No efforts by India to curb racial discrimination. Several reports in the past have highlighted that the propensity if Indians to discriminate on grounds of race is quiet high. China has undertaken educational projects to bury the African stereotype

A Brief Analysis of the Third India-Africa Forum Summit

‘New Hopes, New Horizons’

The Third India-Africa Forum Summit held recently unveiled a “dynamic and transformative agenda”. This agenda is of mutual empowerment and mutual resurgence between India and the African nations to strengthen the bond even more in the future.

This was the third summit, which was started in 2008, since when two summits had taken place.

However, this is the first time that 54 heads of the states out of a total of 54 in the African continent came to India together for one cause.

There were commemorative coins that were released to mark the event. They were as shown below:

9

 

                                                                            Source: MEA

Development Partnership

The ‘Delhi Declaration’ of 2015 envisages the India-Africa partnership in development. On the same lines, India would be providing a credit of $10 billion to Africa for development projects along with a grant assistance of $600 million.

This grant includes development fund, health fund and scholarship for students in India. The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation(ITEC) programme has already laid base for knowledge sharing and has acted as a bridge to connect students from both the sides.

10

The Delhi Declaration is in sync with the ‘Africa’s Vision 2063’ which also focusses on growth, stability and prosperity.

Arc of Prosperity

India-Africa Business Forum was also held as an important segment of the summit. It is noteworthy that the India-Africa trade has exceeded $70 billion!

Along with economic development through public private partnerships, institution building, infrastructure development and development of small and medium enterprises, the focus will also be on poverty alleviation, healthcare, education and sustainable development.

Blue Economy

An agenda was brought out in the summit or the development of blue economy or ocean economy which is aimed at development of marine resources sustainably for the growth and development of countries like India, on the African coast and other littoral states with coastlines.

11

Commemorative stamps were also issued during the summit:

12

Source: MEA

Strategic Partnership

India called for partnership with Africa in raising voice for the reform of international institutions such as the United Nations and its security council.

It also stressed for collective action for climate change with the mantra of ‘clean and green’. It includes the invitation given by India to all the African countries to be a part of the Indian initiative and join the ‘Solar Club’ for a partnership in areas of clean energy, sustainable habitats, public transport and climate resilient agriculture.

13

Partners in Peace

India is a major partner in the UN Peacekeeping missions in the African continent. The major peacekeeping missions in Africa in which India is involved are:

  1. Democratic Republic of Congo
  2. South Sudan
  3. Ivory Coast
  4. Liberia

Till date, India has deployed about 4,500 soldiers on the ground. This includes the only fully formed Indian female police unit in Liberia.

Cultural Bonding

15

 

Opportunities for India

Apart from the immense opportunities as can be comprehended from the above analysis of  the third India-Africa Forum Summit, some of the rest can be listed as below:

  • India has the opportunity to benefit from Africa’s rich resources such as coal, oil, and natural gas reserves whereas Africa would gain from India’s world-class downstream capabilities
  • Indian banks to expand their footprint on the continent for developing Africa’s financial market
  • The huge market can serve as an alternative to ours
  • The hydrocarbon from Africa is a source of clean, energy efficient fuel which is of immense importance given India’s ambitious goals for energy production and security

The importance of the ties between India and Africa was realized by our forefathers too for the development of both the land and the people.

The great leader of the world in General and Africa in particular ‘Nelson Mandela’ once remarked:

16

Taking ahead the culture of civilization tying it with our ancient past, it can be very rightly concluded by Mahatma Gandhi’s views:

17

Prime Minister’s African nation visit includes MozambiqueSouth AfricaTanzania and Kenya. The visit of Prime Minister comes close on the heels of the high level visit earlier by President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari.

kenya-tanzania

Earlier visit of Vice president to Morocco and Tunisia covered North Africa. Later President’s visit to Ghana, Namibia and Ivory Coast covered West Africa. Now the Prime Minister’s visit covers South and East Africa. Through this our three topmost leaders have covered the whole of Africa .

It is projected that by 2020 the collective GDP of all African nations will be $2.6 trillion.

Strategic significance of Prime Minister’s visit

  • The Prime Minister’s focus of the African tour is on deepening cooperation in areas of hydrocarbonsmaritime securitytrade and investmentagriculture and food. Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya are very important and all are littoral states. They had very close connection with India.
  • India-Kenya ties have stood the test of time. Both our nations have had very strong people-to-people ties and both nations have successfully fought colonialism in the previous century.
  • Mozambique was a Portuguese colony earlier. Till 1750 the country was managed from Goa. There are large numbers of Goans in Mozambique.
  • Prime Minister addressed the Indian Diaspora at Nairobi. Terrorism and Global Warming are the two major global challenges faced by all the nations. No country is immune to the state of terrorism. Concerted action is required by the global community through UN frame work.
  • India and Tanzania have agreed to deepen overall defense and security partnership, especially in the maritime domain.

India’s strengths

  • India had age old cultural, historic and civilization ties with Africa and around 16th century India’s indentured labor had come here and now they have all prospered and helped in the progress of these countries.
  • India and Africa are neighbors which are connected by Indian OceanMaritime securitycounter terrorism operation, utilization of the Blue Economy is the important element between India and Africa.
  • There are opportunities for Indian private companies and Public sector entities to invest in Africa. India is interested in securing energy needs, renewable and non conventional sources of energy where Africa is rich in all these resources.
  • Energy security is a significant element of our partnership with Africa. 25% of India’s total investment in Africa is in Mozambique that is $8 billion. Around 10% of total investment is in Tanzania that is $3 billion. These investments are in the field of Energy.
  • India will grow and India will need Energy. Large numbers of countries of Africa are members of International Solar Alliance. Prime Minister also met ‘Solar Mamas’, a group of rural women solar engineers from Africa who have been trained under Government of India-supported programme to fabricate, install, use, repair and maintain solar lanterns and household solar lighting systems in their villages

Difference in India and China approach in Africa

  • India is different from other large investors in Africa. China is considered to be exploitative in terms of exploitation of Natural resources and there is not much benefit to the local people of Africa.
  • China has acquired land for agriculture which has got its own work force and this has not benefited Africa.
  • India wants African nation to get equal benefits from India’s economic development in Africa. India wants a win-win situation for both the countries.
  • There are concerns that India has been very slow on delivery. It makes promises and commitments, but it doesn’t have the wherewithal. There was a tangential comparison with china where china was able to deliver. India in the last 2 years has demonstrated through certain projects that now India will deliver on its promises.
  • India is interested in improving the living standards of the common people. Whether it is energy, renewable energy, agriculture, food processing etc. The strength India has in terms of Human Resource Development, capacity building, education, health care and large numbers of African students are in India.
  • $92 million line of credit that has been agreed to is for water distribution and purification systems. India has long term agreement with Mozambique for the purchase of pulses.
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