India-Africa Relationship

  • IASbaba
  • May 21, 2021
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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  • GS-2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.

India-Africa Relationship

Historical Background 

  • During early 1920s both regions fight against colonial rule and oppression.
  • After India gained independence, it became a leading voice in support of African decolonisation at UN 
  • Independent India, though extremely poor after two centuries of colonial exploitation, strived to share its limited resources with African countries under the banner of South-South cooperation
  • In 1964, India launched the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme to provide technical assistance through human resource development to other developing countries – Africa was biggest beneficiary
  • India’s economic engagement with Africa, on the other hand, only began intensifying in the early 2000s. India’s total trade with Africa grew from US$ 6.8 billion in 2003 to US$ 76.9 billion in 2018, and India is now Africa’s third-largest trade partner


  • Government aimed to export 10 million vaccine doses to the African continent. However, due to second wave and increasing domestic demand, export prospects may be hampered.
  • Indian Line of Credits(LoCs) have not been designed to achieve a larger development goal such as food security, health security, clean energy or education for all. LoCs are typically used by recipient countries to fund small development projects such as roads, bridges, railway lines.
  • There is no synchronisation between different development instruments of India. 
  • Moreover, implementation has been a key constraint for Indian LoCs, with poor disbursal rates and project completion record.
  • There has instances of violence against African students is common in India that has created unease in India-Africa relationship
  • Although India has immense social capital among African nations, it has not matched this in material ties, and China’s economic and investment presence in Africa has been outstripping India’s for many years
  • China is essentially trying to offer an alternative authoritarian model of development to African countries. Its message is that no longer is the liberal international path the only road for African countries to take and prosper.

With its limited resources, India can try to make its development cooperation with Africa more impactful in the following ways:

  • Clear strategy for African development
  • Continue the current focus on capacity building
  • Harness Indian civil society organisations, NGOs, and Indian diaspora: 
  • Promote development-friendly private investments:
  • Timely completion of projects
  • Improve the experiences of Africans in India
  • A thought-fully planned vaccine strategy that balances interest of India and that of Africa

Connecting the dots:

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