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A New Chapter in India-Africa Ties

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July 15, 2023

Why in news?

Africa Expert Group has released a report titled ‘India-Africa Partnership: Achievements, Challenges and Roadmap 2023’ which enlisted recommendations to deepen and diversify India-Africa ties.

What is the history of India-Africa relationship?

  • Political Relations – This was started when M.K.Gandhi started his political career during colonization in South Africa.
  • Diplomatic relations between India and Africa were established during the period of colonialism.
  • During the wake of cold war many African Countries joined Non-Alignment Movement pioneered by India, Indonesia, Egypt, Ghana and Yugoslavia.
  • India-Africa Forum Summit is the official platform for the African Indian relations which is held once in every 3 years since 2008.
  • Economic Relations – India-Africa trade touched $98 billion in FY22–23 which is a positive economic development.
  • Defence - India-Africa Defence Dialogue was held in the sidelines of DefExpo 2022 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
  • Gandhinagar Declaration was adopted to enhance cooperation in the fields of training & military exercises
  • Cultural relations- Project ‘Mausam’ is an initiative of Ministry of Culture which aims to explore the multi-faceted Indian Ocean ‘world’ and promote research on themes related to the study of maritime routes.
  • About 39 Indian Ocean countries selected for this project which contains African countries like Egypt, Kenya, Sudan, Somalia etc.,
  • Education and Health -Africa is one of the beneficiaries of India’s flagship capacity building programme – Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC).
  • As per National Education Policy 2020 guidelines, First IIT Campus to be set outside India is at Zanzibar, Tanzania.
  • India supplied 'Made in India' COVID vaccines to 42 African countries under “One Earth One Health Mission”.
  • Technology- Pan-African e-network is a joint effort of India and African Union with an aim to provide satellite connectivity, tele-education, and tele-medicine services to the African countries.

india-africa

What are the key findings of the report?

  • Dynamic 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.
  • Incidents like insurgency, ethnic violence, and terrorism is still a challenging issue in Ethiopia, Sudan, and the Central African Republic.
  • Participation of external partners- China, Russia, the United States, the European Union, Japan, Turkey, and the UAE are actively competing to strengthen their relations with Africa.
  • They aim to secure market access, energy and mineral resources, and enhance their political and economic influence in the region.
  • China’s role- It is Africa's largest economic partner since 2000. The report identified China as an infrastructure developer, resource provider, and financier in Africa.
  • India’s role - The report notes that India has a substantive partnership with Africa and a rich fund of goodwill, but it is essential for New Delhi to review its Africa policy periodically.

India is a member of The African Development Bank, which brings together 54 African countries and 28 non-African partners. India has a voting share of 0.265%, 6.7 times lower than the 1.8% held by China.

What are the recommendations?

  • Political and diplomatic cooperation- Strengthen the cooperation by restoring periodic leaders’ summits through India-Africa Forum Summit.
  • Enhance the cooperation between India and African Union by launching a new annual strategic dialogue in 2023.
  • India should forge AU’s entry in G20 as a full member.
  • Defence and security cooperation - Enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism, cyber security and emerging technologies.
  • Expand dialogue on defence issues and widen the footprint of maritime collaboration.
  • Expand the lines of credit to facilitate defence expenses.
  • Economic and development- Promote access to finance through the creation of an Africa Growth Fund (AGF).
  • A special package of measures to improve exports and build cooperation in the shipping domain.
  • A special focus on promoting trilateral cooperation and deepening science and technology cooperation could pay rich dividends.
  • Socio- Cultural Cooperation- Greater interaction between universities, think tanks, civil society and media organisations in India and selected African countries.
  • Set up a National Centre for African Studies to promote engagement in education.
  • Liberalise visa measures for African students who come to India for higher education.

Roadmap 2030 is a set of nearly 60 policy recommendations to deepen and diversify the India-Africa partnership covering 4 areas.

Quick facts

India- Africa Forum Summit (IAFS)

  • Aim - To strengthen India’s cooperation with Africa in the Global South.
  • So far, 3 summits have taken place- 2008, 2011, 2015.
  • The IAFS has a three-tier platform of the African Union, the eight regional economic communities of Africa and important bilateral participants.
  • First and third summit was held in India while the second summit was held in Addis Ababa, Egypt.
  • The first two summits were held under the Banjul formula with the participation of 15 African countries and the AU Commission.
  • At 3rd Summit, a massive event for all 54 African countries was held.

African Union

  • It is a continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent.
  • It was officially launched in 2002 as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity.
  • Agenda 2063 calls for greater collaboration for African led initiatives for the achievement of the aspirations of African people.

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References

  1. The Hindu| A new chapter on India-Africa ties.
  2. Ministry of External Affairs| IIT campus outside India
  3. PIB| Project Mausam

 

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