23 total views, 2 views today
India and World – Africa
- Historical ties
- Indian in Africa
- Mahatma Gandhi
- Colonialism and liberation wars
- Non-alignment movement
- Indian diaspora in Africa
- Significant numbers in East Africa
- After end of colonialism in Africa, India-Africa relations were expected to strengthen
- However, on the whole the flourishing of trade and economic exchanges did not happen
- Why? – lack of resources was part of the problem, and many new countries were forced to look to former colonial rulers for assistance in meeting their development needs.
- Annual trade of USD 46 bn with Africa.
- Least-developed African nations are to get/have got preferential access to the Indian market and India also committed itself to establishing 19 centres of excellence and training institutions in different fields across Africa
- Cumulative Indian investments in Africa stood at $90 billion in 2010 and are likely to rise dramatically in the years ahead.
- Bharti’s investment in Africa is seen as an example of how Indian companies are looking at long term partnerships in Africa
- Indian corporate houses like Tatas, Bajaj, OVL, Essar, Sanmar, Ranbaxy and Reliance have a presence in Africa
- India should
- Negotiate FTAs with African nations and group of nations
Indian Diaspora in Africa
- Within Africa, there are several scattered Indian communities, quite often substantial in number
- They are typically engaged in trade and also in professions like medicine and law
- After independence of African nations, they had a mixed experience
- In some countries they prospered
- Elsewhere they were regarded with suspicion
- Even forced to flee in Uganda
- In such circumstances they were unable to be a useful bridge between India and Africa
- About 2 million people of Indian origin live in Africa
- Bulk of the diaspora is in countries like South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria.
India-Africa Forum Summit
- India-Africa Forum Summit first held in 2008 in New Delhi
- It was the first such meeting between the heads of state/govt of India and 14 countries of Africa chosen by the African Union
- Delhi Declaration was adopted
- 2nd India-Africa Forum Summit held in 2011 in Addis Ababa
- 15 African countries attended
- Addis Ababa declaration adopted
- Envisages economic and political cooperation, and also cooperation in a host of other areas including S&T, social and infrastructure development, tourism, culture and sports.
- theme: Enhancing Partnership: Shared Vision
- We have thus decided to enhance our partnership with new initiatives for the mutual benefit of Africa and India, In recent years, this has included substantial financial flows from India to Africa in terms of grants, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and concessional loans that continue to contribute to capacity building in the socio-economic sectors, particularly in the human resource development, the development of the private sector, increasing support to infrastructure, agriculture and SMEs, leading to a substantial expansion of Indian investment in Africa and of trade between Africa and India. We agree, to build upon this by assisting each other to achieve inclusive growth, socio-economic development and self-reliance. Areas for such cooperation will include sharing strategies for sustainable development, poverty alleviation, healthcare and universal education, and sharing appropriate technologies. These new avenues for cooperation will enable us to add strategic depth to our partnership.
- Climate change cooperation
- Urge major economies to work together and enhance macro-economic policy coordination
- India announced $5 bn credit line over the next three years
- Other initiatives announced at the 2nd summit
- India-Africa Food Processing Cluster
- India-Africa Integrated Textiles Cluster
- India-Africa Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting
- India-Africa University for Life and Earth Sciences
- Potential areas for cooperation
- Agricultural sector
- Industry and investment
- Peace and security
- Promotion of good governance and civil society
- Information and communication technology
- India, with its substantial technology knowledge pool, is well placed to contribute to such capacity building
- Unlike China’s foray in Africa that has focused on extractive resources, oil and mammoth infrastructure projects, India has chosen to focus on capacity building as the defining template of its engagement with Africa
- Bilateral trade is about $ 40 billion
- India has initiated the pan-Africa e-network project
- e-medicine and e-education project
- To connect India with all 53 countries of the African Union with a satellite and fibre optic network for sharing India’s expertise in education and healthcare
- The project is being implemented in 47 African countries of which actual commissioning has been completed in 34 countries.
- 12 more countries are added in the second phase.
Initiatives by GoI for Africa
- India-Africa Forum Summit
- 2nd India-Japan Dialogue on Africa was held in New Delhi in June 2011.
- It is an institutionalised event held biannually. Inaugural dialogue in Tokyo was held in 2010.
- IGNOU to establish Indo-Africa Virtual University
- The mission of this is to create conditions that ensure special priority to strengthen Indo-African relations by establishing an educational link.
- Team-9 framework for cooperation West Africa
China in Africa
- China long before it became in economic power, successfully implemented the massive TanZam rail project between Tanzania and Zambia
- Forum on China-Africa Cooperation
- Started in 2000. Four summits held till now.
- Reducing India’s ties with Africa to a rivalry with China is to take a narrow view of history.
- Given its realities, it is also meaningless – China’s $126bn trade with Africa is way ahead of India’s $ 46 bn.
- India’s all round cooperation with Africa (P2P, G2G and B2B) is what makes India’s relations different from China’s which is largely a top down G2G relationship
- Should India bother about China’s presence in Africa?
- An African leader said recently that, in Africa, China was doing more, but India was doing better.
- From the perspective of Africa, the two countries have core competencies which may actually complement each other in many ways
- The Chinese excel in large infrastructure projects while the Indians have an edge in ICT, capacity building and training and also emerging areas like agriculture and floriculture
- The Indian ability to relate to Africans is also much greater, which is why non-Indian MNCs prefer to use Indians as managers for projects involving interaction with local officials and populations
- The fact that India is a democracy (and a chaotic one at that) may mean Chinese companies steal a march over Indian ones. But India’s democratic culture and consultative approach make it an attractive partner for African nations looking to enhance their own skills and capabilities.
- In other words, Africa is looking to do business with both India and China at the same time and there does seem to be more than enough room for both
- At the same time, India should not become complacent. As African economy will emerge in the later part of this century, politics will stabilize and new opportunities will arise, competition for the world will be stiff.
- India is well placed because of the unique set of capabilities it offers. At the same time, it must consciously avoid the path of exploitation other big power before it have taken.
What India should do now?
- Ramp up its diplomatic presence in Africa
- Indian companies and citizens will be more likely to work in countries where India maintains an embassy.
- It would help if these embassies were robustly staffed by young diplomats anxious to make a mark rather than by those at the fag end of their career who sees duty in Africa as a punishment posting.
- Government to consider establishing a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to pursue strategic investments and business opportunities in Africa, especially in sectors such as mining, infrastructure and agriculture.
- SPV or some other official entity must pay attention to corporate social responsibility issues connected to all Indian FDI projects in Africa, especially since many of them might be in countries where domestic regulatory frameworks for workers’ rights and environmental protection are inadequate or dysfunctional
- There must be strict audit of all monies disburses through the Lines of Credit for Africa
- A greater effort should be made to build on the domain knowledge and cultural equity that the Indian diaspora across Africa has in abundance about local business conditions and customs
- The ‘commerce of ideas’ that Mahatma Gandhi envisaged the future relationship between India and Africa to revolve around should be made a central element of Indian policy
Conclusion (India-Africa relations)
- <as the FIFA WC has shown, the so called Dark Continent is now increasingly bright>
- India has twin role to play in Africa
- As an economic powerhouse India has to help African countries build economic institutions. As the largest democracy we can provide them assistance in setting up democratic structures in countries facing political upheaval
- India has to further its strategic interests in Africa to boost its own economic growth
- We need to strengthen relationships in three spheres
- People to people (P2P)
- Government to Government (G2G)
- Business to Business (B2B)
- India is firmly committed to the progress and development of Africa. Our economic package of USD 5.7 bn for the African countries, over the next three years, is demonstrative of our time tested ties and commitment.
- There have been breakthroughs in many areas
- Remarkable decline in the incidence of AIDS and malaria
- Tangible reduction in poverty
- A substantial increase in longevity
- A rise in primary school enrolment from 58 per cent in 2000 to 74 percent in 2008
- Famine in Somalia
- Provision of fertiliser and new varieties of seeds by governments to poor farmers in countries like Malawi has increased agricultural yields
- Surpluses in tropical crops are finding markets abroad
- Accd to an IMF report, sub-Saharan Africa grew at more than 5 per cent during the period 2000-2009
- 2010 was exception in the number of elections held.
- Burundi, Guinea, Ethiopia and semi-autonomous region of Somalia had elections early in the year
- Tanzania and Chad followed
- Referendum in Kenya was a successful democratic exercise giving that country a new constitution, which is helping to resolve ethnic tensions
- Independence given to South Sudan
- North Africa revolutions
- However challenges exist
- Transition for dictatorship to democracy in North Africa
- Election in Ivory Coast
- 2010 was exception in the number of elections held.
India’s relations with African Union
Background: The African Union is an international organisation consisting of 53 African member states (excluding Morocco but including Saharwi ADR). It was founded in Durban on July 10, 2002, replacing the Organization of African Unity( OAU).
In 1999, the Heads of State / Government of the OAU issued the Sirte Declaration calling for establishing an African Union to accelerate the process of integration in the African Continent. The Lome Summit of 2000 adopted the Constitutive Act and the Lusaka Summit of 2001 drew the roadmap for implementation of the African Union. Its headquarters is located in Addis Ababa. The birth of the AU is a legacy of the Pan-African movement towards creating institutions to achieve the objectives of peace, political stability, democracy, economic integration and good governance. The Regional Economic Communities like Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Southern African Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC), Arab Maghreb Union (AMU/UMA), The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) are contributing to the progress of integration.
Since the inception of the African Union, India has been regularly participating in its various Summits. India participated in the AU Summit in Durban in July 2002 and in Maputo (Mozambique) in July 2003.
The 10th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union took place in Addis Ababa Jan 31-Feb 02, 2008 whose theme was “Industrial Development of Africa”. The Indian Delegation was led by Shri Anand Sharma, MoS for External Affairs. In his Address to the Executive Council on January 29, 2008 he announced the India Africa Forum Summit to be held at New Delhi from April 4-9, 2008.
India-Africa Forum Summit
The first ever India-Africa Forum Summit, attended by the countries representing AU and the Regional Economic Communities of Africa, was held in New Delhi on 8-9 April, 2008. Leaders of 14 African counties and the African Union Commission participated. It represented a turning point in the India- AU relations.
The Summit adopted the Delhi Declaration and the Africa-India Framework for Cooperation, which constitute the blueprint for cooperation between India and Africa in the 21st century. Under this new framework, relationships will be further developed in the areas of trade, economy, agriculture, education, science, technology, water management and human resource development. Constructive discussions were also held on the issues of food and energy security, UN reforms and climate change. It was also agreed that the next IAFS would be held in Africa in 2011. In the 16th Ordinary Summit of the African Union in January 2011, it was decided that the 2nd India-African Summit would be conveyed at Addis Ababa from May 23-27, 2011.
India announced unilateral duty free and preferential market access for exports from all Least Developed Countries, 34 of which are in Africa. The scheme will cover 94% of India’s total tariff lines. Specifically, it will provide preferential market access on tariff lines that comprise 92.55 of global exports of all Least Developed Countries. Products of immediate interest to Africa include cotton, cocoa, aluminium ores, copper ores, cashew nuts, cane sugar, ready-made garments, fish fillets and non-industrial diamonds. India would double its quantum of credit to USD 5.4 billion from the present USD 2.15 billion over next five years.
In order to enhance opportunities for African Students to pursue higher studies in India, the Government of India has doubled long-term scholarships for undergraduates, postgraduates and higher courses and increased the number of training slots under our technical assistance programmes from 1100 to 1600 every year. The Prime Minster of India proposed that India and Africa work towards the establishment of an India-Africa Volunteer Corps which would be devoted to development work. The Volunteer Corps can, on a pilot basis, identify projects in the areas of public health, informal education and women’s empowerment and as we gather more experience, the scope of activities can be progressively widened. Prime Minister also proposed to enhance Indian aid to Africa by expanded concessional lines of credit and undertaking projects against grants in excess of USD 500 million over the next five to six years, focusing on human resource development and capacity building. India will strengthen local capabilities by creating regional and pan – African institutions of higher education, especially in pure sciences,
information technology and vocational education. India will also make investments in research and development in renewable forms of energy and agricultural development, through these institutions.
Several outreach events took place before or concurrent with the Summit. These were(i) the first ever India-Africa Editors Conference;(ii) joint performances by Indian and African cultural troupes; (iii) a seminar of intellectuals from Africa and India on India-Africa Partnership on the 21st century(vi) a programme for youth and women from Africa; and (v) a business conclave.
Follow-up of India-Africa Forum Summit: Following visit of a high level delegation from AUC to New Delhi, the Joint Action Plan, with a view to implementing the decisions of the IAFS 2008, has been finalized & launched on 10th March 2010 between the Government of India and the African Union. The decisions as to the locations of the four Institutions viz, the India-Africa Institute of Foreign Trade, India-Africa Institute of Information Technology, India Africa Institute of Education Planning and Administration and India Africa Diamond Institute besides 10 India-Africa vocational Training Centres and construction of 5 prototype low cost houses have already been finalized and Detailed Project Reports are being undertaken in some cases, MOU are also being examined between the AU and GOI on the one hand and the implementing agencies and the concerned countries on the other.
More than 40 scholars have already joined Indian universities subsequent to the award 300 Ph.D and masters scholarships in the field of Agriculture over a period of four years. Under the CV Raman International Fellowship for African Researchers, 85 African researchers have already been selected and many of them have already joined their institutions. These will be short-term, fullyfunded scholarships. FICCI has been designated as the coordinating partner for this fellowship programme. Under capacity building initiatives various short-term courses have been organised for some 432 African experts on subjects such as economic offences and cyber crimes, food quality and safety, disaster risk management, infrastructure development, entrepreneur development, combating desertification and the like. (62 of the 432 have been from Ethiopia).
Pan-African e-Network Project:
The proposal for establishing the Pan-African e-Network Project was made by the then President of India at the Pan-African Parliament in 2004 and is being implemented in conjunction with the African Union. The offer was examined by the African Union in 2005 and the Advisory Committee to the Chairperson concluded that the project would suit the requirements of Africa in fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals.
The Project was inaugurated by Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the then Minister of External Affairs on February 26, 2009 from the TCIL Centre in New Delhi. The process to implement the project was undertaken by establishing a Steering Committee, which is co-chaired by the Commissioner for Infrastructure and the India’s Permanent Representative to the African Union (the Indian Ambassador to Ethiopia). An agreement between GOI and the African Union was signed in New Delhi in October 2005 and seven meetings of the Steering Committee have so far been held. The meetings are cochaired by the Ambassador of India, who is also the Permanent
Representative of India to AU, with the Commissioner for Infrastructure Development of AU. JS (WA) and representatives from IGNOU, TCIL, Amity University also participate in the deliberations. The 7th Meeting of the Steering Committee took place in May 2010.
The project would use Indian expertise in information technology to bring benefits of healthcare and higher education in Africa, including in remote areas. The network will be connected by a satellite/fibre optical network for tele-medicine, tele-education and VVIP connectivity. The current project cost is about USD 116 million, which will be given as a grant by the Government of India. It consists of 5 regional universities, 5 regional super specialty hospitals, 53 learning centres, 53 remote hospitals and 53 VVIP nodes in all countries of Africa. These will be linked to 7 universities and 12 super specialty hospitals in India. Each country is required to sign an agreement with the Indian implementing agency, Telecommunication Consultants India Limited (TCIL).
On Indian side 5 Universities and all 12 Super Speciality Hospitals are integrated with the project. On African side, 47 countries have singed agreements with TCIL. So far 3 out of 5 regional universities have been integrated with the e-Network which are Kwame/Nkrumah University of S&T and University of Ghana, Mekerere University of Uganda and Younde University of Cameroon. The Ibadan Hospital of Nigeria has so far integrated with the project.
Ethiopia was the first beneficiary of the project under a pilot project, which was completed in 2007 at a cost of US$2.13 million. India has also committed to provide tele-medicine, tele-education and VVIP connectivity facility at AU Commission in Addis Ababa. A tele-medicine Centre was inaugurated by the then MOS (ST), Dr Shashi Tharoor on February 28, 2010 during his visit to Addis Ababa in connection with the 14th Summit of AU. AU thus became the 48th member of the Network. Pan-African E-network project was inaugurated in February 2009 by the then External Affairs Minister of India. Another inauguration took place on August 16, 2010 when Shri S.M. Krishna, External Affairs Minister of India interacted live with 12 Ministers of African countries. 23 countries have been covered by this network where the project has been fully implemented. India is a member of the newly established AU Partners Group (AUPG), which meets periodically in Addis Ababa.
India has allocated 10 slots in the year 2008-2009 under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme to the AU Commission personnel and all the slots have been fully utilized for the year 2007-09 and 2009-10.
Among the various aspects of engagement with the African Union Commission, their requirement for training and capacity building of their nascent standby brigade, which were to be the building blocks of their peacekeeping activities, are being discussed.
At the request of the AU commission, initial discussions on their structures to be developed and capabilities to be enhanced were undertaken between an Indian military delegation and the peace and security division of the AU Commission in August 2006. The aim was to see how the Indian experience can be shared with the AU’s efforts to enhance its own capacities for peacekeeping operations in Africa.
Commemoration of 1st International Day of Non-Violence:
A joint commemoration of the 1st International Day of Non-Violence was held on 2nd October 2007 at the African Union
- Refer pdf
- Bilateral tradegrew exponentially from USD 3 million in 1992-93 to USD 4 billion in 2005-06, and the two governments have targeted increasing bilateral trade to USD 12 billion by 2010. Gold bullion constitute one-third of India’s imports from South Africa, while India polishes and processes diamonds from South African mines. South Africa has promoted signing a free trade agreement with India and the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU), which includes Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland along with South Africa.
- Bharti Airtelwas scheduled to acquire MTN to make one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, and also touted as step in South-South cooperation. The deal was, however, rejected by the South African government of Jacob Zuma on the grounds that MTN would not be as South African anymore amid concerns of dual-listing on the Indian and South African stock exchanges.[
Cooperating on various international fora.
East Africa (Horn of Africa)
- Comprises of four countries: Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia
- The area is war ridden and extremely poor
- is an ancient civilisation and has retained its freedom except for a small period
- Cultural links: Siddi community on west coast of India of Ethiopian origin
- India and Ethiopia were a part of the same landmass
- PM MMS is the first PM to visit Ethiopia
- Somalia is the most failed state in the world today
- India would be cooperating with Somalia in capacity building in areas such as fisheries, IT and agriculture
- India is also considering extending technical assistance to Somalia in developing a counter piracy policy and strategy
- The issue of piracy is of considerable concern for India and has been taken up with the Somali side
- Eritrea emerged as an independent state after a long confrontation with Ethiopia. This development made Ethiopia a landlocked country
- Djibouti is a former French colony and was known as Somaliland. It is relatively stable and prosperous.
- In Sept 2011 India announced humanitarian assistance of USD 8 mn to the countries afflicted with severe famine and drought in the Horn of Africa i.e. Somalia, Kenya and Djibouti
- The assistance to be provided through World Food Programme
- India has also contributed USD 1.5 mn to the AU Trust Fund on Somalia and USD 0.5 mn to the UN Trust Fund
- The turn-around in Rwanda from a nation devastated by genocide to a peaceful, vibrant, electoral democracy is a great story in itself
- Transition under a multi-party national government
- New constitution adopted in 2003 laid the foundation for a new democratic Rwanda.
- Somali pirates pose a serious threat to maritime security
- The number of attacks in 2008 was 111 and 217 in 2009
- Indian Navy’s warships patrol the Gulf of Aden and provide escort and security assistance to not only Indian but also foreign merchant vessels.
- Piracy represents a serious challenge to international law. Efforts must be taken to bring political stability in Somalia so that such incidents do not happen.
- One must also acknowledge the fact that piracy attacks have also taken place in response to the illegal fishing and dumping of waste being carried out by some countries in Somali waters.
- What happens in the region has a direct bearing on our security. Hence, India must take interest.
2010: India’s undeclared year of Africa
|Developments seem to have put the engagement with the continent on a fast track.|
An objective evaluation of changing contours of our engagement with Africa, especially in light of significant developments in 2010, might interest Africa watchers and others.
Conceptual richness and consistency appear to characterise recent interactions, although their impact may still take a while to be felt tangibly.
If the period from our Independence to the end of the 1980s was marked by India’s close involvement with Africa in political affairs, peacekeeping, training, culture and education, the 1990s turned out to be a lost decade. That was the time when policy makers were busy trying to re-adapt India’s foreign policy to the post-Cold War world. Subsequently, the Africans’ unhappiness with their neglect by India, China’s rapidly growing profile on the continent, and the enhanced dynamism of India Inc. combined to initiate a renewal of India-Africa relations. The Government’s three initiatives, namely the ‘Focus Africa Programme’ under Exim policy for 2002-07, the ‘Techno-Economic Approach for Africa and India Movement’ or TEAM-9 programme, launched in 2004 to upgrade economic relations with West Africa, and the Pan-African e-Network started in 2007, helped in sending the signal that India had not vacated space in Africa for others.
In this backdrop, the India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) in 2008 represented a veritable high point, showcasing a new, vibrant India as well as its reinvigorated Africa policy. The following year was a relative disappointment. But, developments during 2010 seem to have put India’s engagement with Africa on a fast track.
India played host to at least eight high-level African dignitaries, one each from the Seychelles, Ghana, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Kenya, Malawi and Ethiopia. Visits by presidents, prime ministers and other VIPs throughout the year demonstrated that Africa was keen to expand political and development cooperation with India. Armando Guebuza, President of Mozambique, endorsed India’s approach towards Africa, expressing readiness “to raise the (bilateral relationship) to a strategic partnership.” Hailemariam Desalegn, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, chose to accord high importance to economic issues. Following a productive meeting of the joint commission, the two sides decided, “to infuse the close political relationship with greater economic content.” The visit by South African President Jacob Zuma helped in re-defining the bilateral agenda and re-launching the joint CEOs Forum.
Happily, Indian leaders found time to visit Africa in 2010. Vice-President Hamid Ansari’s three-country tour covering Zambia, Malawi and Botswana was a notable success. Given his credentials, he was able to evoke old memories of deep political and emotional affinity as well as highlight mutuality of interests and the need for expansion of economic cooperation, thus lending a contemporary character to age-old ties. That he backed it with the announcement of credits and grants (for the three countries) amounting to about $200 million, in addition to credit lines valued at $60 million that were operational prior to the visit, showed India’s new strength. This was on display again as the Government agreed to arrange major lines of credits for others: $705 million for Ethiopia for sugar and power sector development and $500 million for Mozambique for infrastructure, agriculture and energy projects.
The decision by the IAFS to set aside $5.4 billion for lines of credit and $500 million for human resource development during a five-year period means that now nearly $1 billion a year is available for cooperation with Africa. Utilising India’s new financial muscle, an ambitious expansion of training programmes for the benefit of Africans is being attempted at present.
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna got a direct feel of issues and personalities on his visit to the Seychelles, Mauritius and Mozambique. As these are all Indian Ocean countries, the strategic dimension of cooperation, especially relating to piracy, terrorism and changing foreign maritime presence, received considerable attention during his discussions. Later the minister, talking to a group of African journalists visiting India, emphasised that our relationship with Africa had “transformed”, with the two sides becoming “development partners looking out for each other’s interests and well-being.”
Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma undertook visits to South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. He was instrumental in facilitating and moulding business-to-business dialogues in all the countries visited, with the help of organisations such as the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). For business level exchanges, however, the most significant event in the year was CII-Exim Bank Conclave, held in Delhi in March. About 1,000 delegates attended it, half of whom were from various African countries.
Bilateral India-Africa trade, which stood at about $1 billion in 2001, has now reached the $40 billion mark. It is an encouraging growth. Figures about India’s investments in Africa are confusing, but by taking an average of the figures of cumulative investments released by the Reserve Bank, the CII and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), one could place a value of $50 billion on them.
Three other highlights need to be mentioned here. First, India hosted a meeting of top officials of Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs). A first of its kind, the meeting was attended by six of the eight RECs, namely Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Southern African Development Community (SADC), Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) and United Nations Association/Arab Maghreb Union (UNA/AMU). It gave them the opportunity to interact with numerous Ministries and business enterprises. Coverage of areas viz stock exchanges, small industry, food processing, infrastructure, IT and telecommunications was quite wide. The visitors expressed “gratitude” to India for the initiative “to recognise the regional dimension of Africa’s development.”
Second, top officials of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) undertook visits to Kampala and Addis Ababa in order to carry forward India’s dialogue with the African Union (AU) for nurturing ties at the continental level. On the sidelines of its 15th Summit in Kampala in July, Jean Ping, Chairman of the African Union Commission (AUC), expressed immense satisfaction at the model of engagement created by India, adding that it was “the most unique and preferred of Africa’s partnerships.” In plain language, he seemed to confirm the view that among many suitors of Africa, both old and new, the two most active are China and India. Ping was also happy with “the determined pace at which implementation (of IAFS decisions) has been undertaken.” However, this might have been more credible had the two sides announced, by now, the venue and timing of the second IAFS.
Third, a boost to our Africa diplomacy came with the announcement of the Hermes Prize for Innovation 2010 for India’s Pan-African e-Network project. The prize was given by the European Institute of Creative Strategies and Innovation, a prestigious think tank. It called the project as “the most ambitious programme of distance education and tele-medicine in Africa ever undertaken.”
A few tips
While moving determinedly to strengthen relations with Africa, the Government needs to do more. African diplomats still speak of the deficit in India’s political visibility. Therefore, our President and Prime Minister should find time to visit Africa in 2011. More visits by Mr. Krishna would be helpful. Implementation of the first IAFS decisions, though improving, needs to be speeded up. India Inc. should be more active. In preparing for the second IAFS, South Block should draw from outside expertise. The civil society’s potential to strengthen people-to-people relations should be tapped optimally. By according higher attention to Africa, the media could serve as a valuable bridge of mutual understanding.
Finally, India should declare and celebrate 2011 as its Africa Year.
( The author is former High Commissioner to South Africa, Lesotho and Kenya.)
When Dr. Manmohan Singh was the Secretary General of South Commission over two decades back, he worked with its chairman Julius Nyerere, a respected African leader and the former President of Tanzania. This relationship might have moulded Dr. Singh’s perceptions on challenges facing Africa and how India should partner with it to secure a multi-dimensional partnership benefitting both sides. This explains, at least partly, why the second India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-II), followed by the Prime Minister’s bilateral visits to Ethiopia and Tanzania, represents the high water mark in India’s engagement with Africa. The recent safari may owe much to the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. But, above all, it was a well-designed initiative by Dr. Singh’s team to position India-Africa relations in the specific context of 21st century.
As Prime Minister, Dr. Singh travelled to South Africa in late 2006 to deepen bilateral relations and inaugurate the centenary celebrations of Satyagraha, the unique movement launched by Gandhiji in 1906. This was followed in 2007 by his rare bilateral visit to Nigeria and a brief sojourn in South Africa where he attended the India, Brazil, South Africa (IBSA) Summit. In November of that year he visited the continent again to attend the Commonwealth Summit in Kampala. In April 2008, he hosted the historic summit, IAFS-I, in Delhi that heralded the commencement of institutionalised interaction with Africa, injecting new momentum into an old relationship. Throughout 2010, India hosted numerous African dignitaries.
The political will and commitment to build ties afresh with Africa have thus been on display in abundance under Dr. Singh’s leadership. This backdrop points to why he enjoys special empathy with African leaders. Echoing their sentiments, Kgalema Motlante, South Africa’s Vice-President, articulated his belief in Addis Ababa that the India-Africa equation “is and should remain a mutually beneficial strategic partnership.”
Despite ample coverage of IAFS-II, several questions demand objective answers. Was the summit well organised? What are its key outcomes? Does Africa look at India in isolation or within a rapidly changing global context? What are the prospects of a timely implementation of Addis Ababa decisions? And, finally, how would the engagement look like in 2014 when the third summit takes place?
The first question is the easiest to answer. Thanks to careful preparations in recent months and notable synergy created between Indian and African Union officials, the second summit was managed adroitly. It was helped by the absence of controversial or divisive issues. What the planners did exceptionally well was to choreograph a series of productive interactions involving not just officials and political leaders but also other segments of the target constituency — entrepreneurs, CEOs, media figures, academics, civil society, artistes and craftsmen. While taking a leaf out of the first Summit, they managed to take the B-to-B and P-to-P exchanges to new heights.
As to the key outcomes, the Addis Ababa Declaration and the Framework for Enhanced Cooperation bring out clearly that a striking convergence of views exists between India and Africa not only on bilateral matters but also on a whole range of issues. These include U.N. reforms, Africa’s place in world affairs, climate change, countering terrorism, the Doha Round and South-South cooperation.
What analysts were keen to know was whether the areas of cooperation identified in 2008 would now be modified substantially, and whether India would demonstrate further financial generosity to fund new programmes. The set of seven areas chosen in 2008 remains unchanged, but details of some of them have undergone a transformation. The Prime Minister’s business-like announcement of new funding for additional commitments — $5 billion for lines of credit, $700 million for new institutions and training programmes, and $300 million for the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway line — was an apt response to African expectations.
India has made it clear that capacity building would receive priority in its endeavour to deepen links with Africa at the continental, regional and bilateral levels. However, the other two pillars of its strategy, namely trade and investment cooperation and infrastructure development too would be pushed hard. On trade, further clarity and a more targeted promotion are required. A duty-free tariff regime offered by India is yet to work optimally. Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) negotiations such as with Southern African Customs Union (SACU) seem to be moving slowly. However, the enhanced focus on infrastructure is significant. India is not leaving this field to others, engaged as it is in building roads, railways, ports and bridges. But Africa’s appetite is huge: the World Bank has recently estimated that Africa needs $93 billion a year to address the infrastructure gap. For creating new opportunities for Indian companies, the government has no option but to find new methods to finance projects in future.
As regards the next question, many diplomatic and scholarly voices have been heard on whether there is competition, race or rivalry between India and China for seeking a place under the African sun. Delhi’s official view is unmistakable: there is no competition. Significantly, Beijing has not expressed any view. Within Africa, there are many who believe not only in the existence of competition, but also in its desirability. Western observers and scholars have, of course, been the main proponents of the theory that India-China competition in Africa has been heating up.
Whatever may be one’s preferred conclusion, it can be asserted that healthy competition is generally good, not bad, and that even though the Indian and Chinese approaches are quite different, they exhibit a few similarities too. If at macro level the India-China relationship is widely seen to have three fundamental characteristics, i.e. competition, cooperation and conflict, it is hardly plausible to argue that these traits would not be unfolding in Africa.
Further, neither India nor China can afford to ignore monitoring each other’s activities in Africa and drawing lessons from them. Given the fact that Africa, despite its intrinsic unity, is a diverse continent of 54 — soon to be 55 — nation-states, India and China as well as the Western and other powers would have a role to play on the African stage.
The last two questions pertaining to implementation are inter-related. The 19 institutions that India had proposed to establish in accordance with the 2008 Summit decisions are yet to see light of the day, but hopefully they will do so soon, probably within a year from now. The package of new institutions announced in Addis Ababa is no doubt impressive, but it will need a longer gestation period and a lot of hard work.
South Block would make a huge contribution to the India-Africa cooperation if it quickly crafts a tight calendar for fulfilling the Prime Minister’s promises. Let 2014, the year of the third summit, be the final, non-negotiable deadline when all the proposed institutions become a reality. An essential pre-requisite: External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna should consider deploying an A-team of officers as the Africa desk undergoes important changes in the coming weeks. Should this happen and if promised funding is spent purposefully, the substance and profile of India’s partnership with Africa are set to grow tremendously.
But, enhancing cooperation is a shared dream, working for it a joint responsibility. Leaders and other drivers on both sides of the Indian Ocean need to rise to the occasion.