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India-Africa Partnership: Achievements, Challenges, and Roadmap 2030

  • 04 Jul 2023
  • 10 min read

For Prelims: AEG, ICCR, ITEC, G-20, India-Africa Forum Summit.

For Mains: India-Africa Partnership: Achievements, Challenges, and Roadmap 2030.

Why in News?

Recently, the 20-member Africa Expert Group (AEG), established by the Vivekananda International Foundation, presented a Report titled ‘India-Africa Partnership: Achievements, Challenges and Roadmap 2030’.

  • The report highlights India's significant partnership with Africa and emphasizes the importance of regular policy review and implementation to strengthen the relationship.
  • With Africa accounting for around 17% of the global population and projected to reach 25% by 2050, India recognizes its crucial role in the partnership as a rising global power.

What are the Key Highlights of the Report?

  • Changes in Africa:
    • Africa is undergoing significant changes in its demographics, economy, politics, and society. It is gradually moving towards regional integration and is committed to promoting democracy, peace, and progress.
    • However, some countries like Ethiopia, Sudan, and the Central African Republic are still grappling with challenges posed by insurgency, ethnic violence, and terrorism.
  • Competition and External Players:
    • Several external partners, including China, Russia, the United States, the European Union, Japan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, are actively competing to strengthen their relations with different parts of Africa.
    • They aim to secure market access, energy and mineral resources, and enhance their political and economic influence in the region.
  • China’s Involvement:
    • China has stood out as Africa's largest economic partner since 2000. It plays a significant role as an infrastructure developer, resource provider, and financier in Africa.
    • China has made substantial investments in terms of finances, materials, and diplomatic efforts.

What are the Recommendations to Strengthen India- Africa Ties?

  • Strengthen Political and Diplomatic Cooperation:
    • Restore periodic leaders' summits through the India-Africa Forum Summit.
      • Indo Africa Forum Summit is a programme fully sponsored by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) with a view to develop Indo-Africa cooperation by helping African countries to develop their own potential for development in human resource and agriculture etc.
    • Seek consensus among G-20 members on the AU's (African Union) full membership.
    • Establish a dedicated secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) for African affairs.
  • Enhance Defence and Security Cooperation:
    • Increase the number of defence attachés in Africa and expand dialogue on defence issues.
    • Strengthen maritime collaboration and extend Lines of Credit to facilitate defence exports.
    • Expand cooperation in counterterrorism, cyber security, and emerging technologies.
  • Deepen Economic and Development Cooperation:
    • Promote India-Africa trade through the creation of an Africa Growth Fund (AGF) to enhance access to finance.
    • Implement measures to improve project exports and enhance cooperation in the shipping domain.
    • Focus on trilateral cooperation and deepen science and technology collaboration.
  • Increase Socio-Cultural Cooperation:
  • Implementing the ‘Roadmap 2030’:
    • Establish a special mechanism for implementing the 'Roadmap 2030' through collaboration between the MEA and the National Security Council Secretariat.
    • Create a team of officials led jointly by the Secretary, Africa in the MEA, and a designated Deputy National Security Adviser.
    • By following this roadmap and implementing the recommended measures, India can further strengthen its partnership with Africa, leveraging the continent's potential and contributing to its own global stature.

What are the Achievements of India-Africa Relations?

  • Economic Cooperation:
    • For Indian businesses, Africa presents a massive untapped market for manufacturing goods such as textiles, pharmaceuticals, automobiles and light machinery.
    • From 2011–2022, shows an increase in India's total goods trade with Africa from USD 68.54 billion to USD 90.52 billion. Also, in 2022, for the first time, India reached a positive trade balance.
  • Development Assistance:
    • The ITEC program offers training and capacity building programs to African professionals. India has also extended lines of credit and grants for infrastructure projects, agricultural development, and capacity building.
  • Health Collaboration:
    • Indian pharmaceutical companies have provided affordable generic medicines to African countries, contributing to improved healthcare access. India has also deployed medical teams and offered technical assistance to combat diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria, and Ebola.
  • Defence Cooperation:
    • India has signed MoUs with all African nations on the Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) is evidence of increased defence engagement with African countries.
    • The hosting of two India-Africa Defence Dialogue (IADD) at the defense ministers’ level, on the sidelines of the Defence Expo at Lucknow (2020) and Gandhinagar (2022), also underlines the growing importance of the defence domain in India-Africa engagement.
    • In 2022, India started the first edition of the Trilateral Maritime Exercise with Tanzania and Mozambique to enhance maritime cooperation in the region
  • Technology and Digital Cooperation:
    • Under the Pan African e-Network Project (initiated in 2009), India has set up a fibre-optic network to provide satellite connectivity, tele-medicine and tele-education to countries of Africa.
    • The subsequent phase, e-VidyaBharti and e-ArogyaBharti (e-VBAB), introduced in 2019, focused on providing free tele-education to African students and continuing medical education for healthcare professionals.

What is the Importance of Africa for India?

  • Africa is home to over half a dozen of the fastest growing countries of this decade such as Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, etc. making it one of the growth poles of the world.
  • Real GDP in Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa in the past decade has grown by more than twice the rate in the 1980s and 90's.
  • The African continent has a population of over one billion with a combined GDP of 2.5 trillion dollars making it a huge potential market.
  • Africa is a resource rich nation dominated by commodities like crude oil, gas, pulses and lentils, leather, gold and other metals, all of which India lacks in sufficient quantities.
    • Namibia and Niger are among the top ten global producers of uranium.
    • South Africa is the world's largest producer of platinum and chromium.
  • India is seeking diversification of its oil supplies away from the Middle East and Africa can play an important role in India’s energy matrix.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Prelims

Q. Consider the following statements: (2016)

  1. The India-Africa Summit
  2. held in 2015 was the third such Summit
  3. was actually initiated by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1951

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (a)

Exp:

  • India-Africa Summit is a forum to re-initiate and reboot relation between India and African countries.
  • It started from 2008 with New Delhi as its first venue. Since then, the summit has been held every three years, alternately in India and Africa. Hence, statement 2 is not correct.
  • The second summit was held in Addis Ababa in 2011. The third summit, scheduled to be held in 2014, was postponed because of the Ebola outbreak, and took place in October, 2015 in New Delhi. Hence, statement 1 is correct.
  • Therefore, option (a) is the correct answer.

Mains

Q. How does India see its place in the economic space of rising natural resource rich Africa? (2014)

Q. Increasing interest of India in Africa has its pro and cons. Critically Examine. (2015)

Source: TH

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