- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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:
- Pandemic in Africa and opportunity for India
- Asia-Africa growth Corridor