India-Africa: Challenges & Way Ahead

  • IASbaba
  • July 2, 2021
  • 0
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  • GS-2: India and its neighborhood- relations. 
  • GS-2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

India-Africa: Challenges & Way Ahead

Context: India’s Africa policy needs a critical review, despite New Delhi’s new initiatives to assist Africa through prompt despatch of medicines and later vaccines.

Issues with Indo-Africa relationship

  1. India-Africa trade declined in 2020-21
    • Bilateral trade valued at $55.9 billion in 2020-21, fell by $10.8 billion compared to 2019-20, and $15.5 billion compared to the peak year of 2014-15.
    • India’s investments in Africa too saw a decrease from $3.2 billion in 2019-20 to $2.9 billion in 2020-21.
    • Total investments over 25 years, from April 1996 to March 2021, are now just $70.7 billion, which is about one-third of China’s investment in Africa. 
  1. Global Competition
    • Africa experienced a sharpened international competition, known as ‘the third scramble’, in the first two decades of the 21st century. 
    • A dozen nations from the Americas, Europe and Asia have striven to assist Africa in resolving the continent’s political & social challenges and, in turn, to benefit from Africa’s markets, minerals, hydrocarbons and oceanic resources.
  1.  Setback in India’s “Vax Diplomacy”
    • China successfully used the pandemic to expand its footprint by increasing the outflow of its vaccines to African Continent.
    • India’s vaccine supply to Africa suffered setback due to increased domestic demand in the wake of second wave of COVID-19 and the shortage of vaccine raw materials from the U.S. 
    • India wanted to consolidate its position in its subcontinent and hence Africa did not attain priority in Vax Diplomacy

Way Ahead

  • The third India-Africa Forum Summit was held in 2015. The fourth summit, pending since last year, should be held as soon as possible, even if in a virtual format. 
  • Fresh financial resources for grants and concessional loans to Africa must be allocated, as previous allocations stand almost fully exhausted. 
  • India & Africa must develop and deepen collaborations in health, space and digital technologies.
  • To overcome the China challenge in Africa, India should adopt partnership based approach with its international allies (like EU, US & Japan)

Connecting the dots:

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