India-Africa ties have undergone a significant transformation in recent years, marked by a deepening of diplomatic, economic, and cultural engagements. Historically, India and Africa share a legacy of anti-colonial struggles and a commitment to mutual development. The strategic partnership has expanded across various sectors, including trade, technology transfer, and capacity-building initiatives. India’s focus on South-South cooperation has led to initiatives such as the India-Africa Forum Summit, emphasizing a collaborative approach to address shared challenges like climate change and sustainable development. Despite these positive strides, challenges persist, including the need for sustained economic investments, addressing infrastructure gaps, and navigating the complexities of regional geopolitics. A nuanced approach, balancing economic interests with cultural and historical affinities, is essential for further strengthening the multifaceted relationship between India and Africa.
Tag: GS Paper – 2: Groupings & Agreements Involving India and/or Affecting India’s Interests; Effect of Policies & Politics of Countries on India’s Interests.
India-Africa ties; Africa in transition; The ‘Roadmap 2030’: Four areas of focus.
The central part of the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) report is the ‘Roadmap 2030’, a set of nearly 60 policy recommendations that are designed to deepen and diversify the India-Africa partnership.
Background: India-Africa ties
- India’s rise as a global player is inevitably linked to the kind of partnership it enjoys with Africa.
- In the past 15 years and especially since 2014, India-Africa relations have developed steadily but more progress is achievable.
- The 20-member Africa Expert Group (AEG), established by the Vivekananda International Foundation, recently presented the VIF Report entitled ‘India-Africa Partnership: Achievements, Challenges and Roadmap 2023’.
Decoding the editorial: Africa in transition
Towards integration, democracy, peace and progress
- Africa, a continent, accounting for nearly 17% of the world’s population today and reaching 25% in 2050, needs to be studied closely.
- The VIF report examines the transitions unfolding in Africa: demographic, economic, political and social.
- It is slowly heading toward regional integration and is devoted to democracy, peace and progress, even as Ethiopia, Sudan, the Central African Republic and other countries continue to battle with the challenges posed by insurgency, ethnic violence and terrorism.
- There is a striking competition among at least half a dozen external partners such as China, Russia, the United States, the European Union, Japan, Türkiye and the United Arab Emirates.
- All of them desire to strengthen their relations with parts of Africa to ensure market access, gain energy and mineral security, and increase political and economic influence.
Dependence on China
- It is playing the role of ‘the infrastructure developer’, ‘the resource provider’, and ‘the financier.’
- It has invested enormously in Africa in terms of money, materials and diplomatic push.
- Since 2007, Chinese leaders have visited the continent 123 times, while 251 African leaders have visited China.
The ‘Roadmap 2030’: Four areas of focus
Political and diplomatic cooperation
- Periodic leaders’ summits should be restored through the medium of the India-Africa Forum Summit; the last summit was in 2015.
- A new annual strategic dialogue between the chairperson of the African Union (AU) and India’s External Affairs Minister should be launched in 2023.
- Consensus should be forged among G-20 members on the AU’s entry into the G-20 as a full member.
- The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) should have a secretary exclusively in charge of African affairs to further enhance the implementation and impact of the Africa policy.
Defence and security cooperation
- Increase the number of defence attachés deployed in Africa,
- Expand dialogue on defence issues,
- Widen the footprint of maritime collaboration,
- Expand lines of credit to facilitate defence exports, and
- More can be done to increase the number of defence training slots and enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism, cyber security and emerging technologies.
Economic and development cooperation
- India-Africa trade touching $98 billion in FY22–23 is an encouraging development.
- This figure can go up if access to finance through the creation of an Africa Growth Fund (AGF) is ensured.
- A special package of measures to improve project exports and build up cooperation in the shipping domain has been suggested.
- A special focus on promoting trilateral cooperation and deepening science and technology cooperation could pay rich dividends.
- It should be increased through greater interaction between universities, think tanks, civil society and media organisations in India and select African countries.
- A National Centre for African Studies should be set up.
- Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) and Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) scholarships awarded to Africans should be named after famous African figures.
- Visa measures for African students who come to India for higher education should be liberalised. They should also be given work visas for short periods.
The special mechanism for implementing the ‘Roadmap 2030’ can best be secured through close collaboration between the MEA and the National Security Council Secretariat.
Source: The Hindu
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
FAQ: What is the historical basis for India-Africa ties?
Answer: India and Africa share a historical connection rooted in their common struggles against colonialism and a commitment to promoting independence and development. The historical ties form a foundation for the present-day collaboration.
FAQ: How has economic cooperation between India and Africa evolved?
Answer: Economic cooperation has strengthened over the years, with initiatives like the India-Africa Forum Summit fostering trade, technology transfer, and capacity-building. India’s emphasis on South-South cooperation has led to increased investments and collaborative projects for mutual economic growth.
FAQ: What are the key sectors of collaboration between India and Africa?
Answer: Collaboration extends across various sectors, including agriculture, healthcare, education, and renewable energy. Both regions are working together to address common challenges and opportunities, promoting sustainable development and inclusive growth.
FAQ: How does India contribute to capacity-building in Africa?
Answer: India is actively involved in capacity-building programs through scholarships, training programs, and knowledge exchange initiatives. These efforts aim to empower African nations with the skills and expertise necessary for self-reliance and sustainable development.
FAQ: What challenges exist in the India-Africa partnership, and how are they being addressed?
Answer: Challenges include infrastructure gaps, regional geopolitics, and the need for sustained economic investments. Both sides are working on a nuanced approach that balances economic interests with cultural and historical affinities to overcome these challenges and further strengthen their multifaceted relationship.
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