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International Relations

India - Africa at CII Exim Bank Conclave

  • 20 Jul 2022
  • 9 min read

For Prelims: CII EBC, India Africa Trade

For Mains: India Africa Relations and Agreements, Significance of Africa in Indian Economy, Presence of China in Africa, History of India Africa Relations

Why in News?

Recently, at the 17th Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Exim Bank Conclave on India-Africa Growth Partnership (New Delhi, India), India has emphasized upon the need for a trade and investment agreement between India and Africa.

What do we know about the CII EBC on India-Africa Growth Partnership?

  • About:
    • It was launched in the year 2005 with the support of the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India.
    • It had been rechristened as “CII EXIM Bank Conclave on India Africa Growth Partnership” expanding the earlier focus on “Project Partnership”.
  • Significance:
    • The conclave has not only set the ground for many new cross-border partnerships to take roots, but also conducted a critical evaluation of the existing collaborative arrangements on the basis of which a new roadmap for future Africa partnerships would be designed.
    • It has given shape to policy dialogues of the Government of India, Exim Bank and the Industry.
    • It has encouraged Indian exporters to access African Countries.
    • It has provided a platform for discussing more than 4430 projects.
    • It has encouraged companies looking for business opportunities beyond Government of India's Lines of Credit.
    • It has facilitated dialogue with other financial institutions in the African region, with competitive credit facilities to support business efforts by Indian companies.

What is India Emphasizing in relations with Africa?

How has India’s relations with Africa been?

  • High Level Visits:
    • During the last eight years, there has been a stepped up engagement with the continent, recording 36 high level visits from India and more than 100 similar ones from Africa.
  • Loan and Assistance:
    • India has extended concessional loans of over USD 12.3 billion to Africa.
    • In addition, India has granted USD 700 mn of grant assistance.
  • Projects:
    • India has completed 197 projects so far, 65 more are currently under execution and 81 at the pre-execution stage.
    • In Gambia, India has constructed the National Assembly building and undertaken projects in water supply, agriculture and food processing.
    • In Zambia, India is involved in an important hydro-power project, in the erection of pre-fabricated health posts and in the supply of vehicles.
    • In Mauritius, recent notable projects include the metro express, the new Supreme Court and social housing.
    • In Namibia, a new Centre of Excellence in IT has just become operational.
    • Whereas in South Sudan, India is focusing on training and education.
  • Covid - 19 Assistance:
    • 32 African countries received 150 tonnes of medical assistance from India.
      • Many of them also utilized ‘Made in India’ vaccines received directly or otherwise from India.
      • At international forums, India has worked together to press for equitable and affordable access to vaccines, including through a TRIPS waiver.
  • Human Resource:
  • Help & Relief Assistance:
    • Operation Sahayata to assist cyclone IDAI-hit Mozambique in 2019, Operation Vanilla to provide relief to flood victims in Madagascar in January 2020, the support to Mauritius in containing the oil spill due to the grounding of ship Wakashio.
  • Energy:
  • Trade and Economics:
    • India’s bilateral trade with Africa has now reached USD 89.5 billion in 2021-22 compared with USD 56 bn the previous year.
    • With cumulative investments at USD 73.9 billion from 1996-2021, India is among the top five investors in Africa.
    • Through the Duty Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme that extends duty free access to 98.2% of India’s total tariff lines, India has opened its market to African countries.
    • So far 33 LDC African nations have been entitled to get benefits under this scheme.

What are the Opportunities in India Africa Relations?

  • Addressing Food security:
    • Agriculture and food security can also be a fulcrum for deepening ties.
    • Africa has a major chunk of the world’s arable land but produces a very small percentage of the global agri-output.
    • India has proven expertise in the agriculture sector, being the top producer of much agricultural produce.
  • Combating Neo-Colonialism:
    • China has been actively pursuing Chequebook and donation diplomacy in Africa.
      • However, Chinese investment is seen as neo-colonial in nature as it focuses on money, political influence, 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.
  • Preventing Global Rivalries:
    • In recent years, several global economic players have strengthened their engagement with African states, with an eye to rising economic opportunities, including in energy, mining, infrastructure and connectivity.

Way Forward

  • Food and Energy Security:
  • Enabling Strategic Convergence:
    • Both India and Japan share a common interest in forging a partnership for Africa’s development through the Asia-Africa Growth corridor.
      • In this context, India can leverage its global status to establish Africa on the strategic map of global politics.
  • Others:
    • Higher education or skill development, building stronger financial partnerships or strengthening value chains in agriculture and food processing, all these should be the significant sectors of cooperation between India and Africa.
    • As global engagement in Africa increases, India and Africa can ensure that Africa does not once again turn into a theatre of rival ambitions.

Source: PIB

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