Strengthening India-Africa ties promise inclusive growth

The 14th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnerships, held in New Delhi between March 17-19, has further boosted the partnership between India and Africa’s growing economies

March 22, 2019

India has forwarded a concessional credit of US$10 billion to the continent for the period 2015-20, while rolling out a plan to develop 18 new diplomatic missions over 2018-2021

Indian firms have invested over US$54 billion in Africa so far, and the nation’s trade with the continent is now worth over US$62.7 billion, marking an annual jump of more than 21 per cent

India’s partnership in Africa currently includes around 180 lines of credit worth about US$11 billion in more than 40 countries that have offered development along with economic growth

Ties have been bolstered by the launch of the India-led International Solar Alliance (ISA) - a platform of more than 120 nations (including several from Africa) to drive global solar adoption

The 14th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnerships, held in New Delhi between March 17-19, has further boosted the partnership between India and Africa’s growing economies. Organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Export–Import Bank of India (Exim Bank), the conclave is the latest in a series of high-profile exchanges between India and African nations in recent years that have opened up new possibilities. While India is the fastest growing major economy in the world, some of the sub-Saharan nations have featured among the top 10 fastest growing economies globally. Faced with similar developmental challenges as well as economic opportunities, India-African collaborations have covered sectors spanning agriculture to space.

Interactions to aid development

Over 500 delegates from across Africa participated in the conclave. Vice President of Ghana, Mahamudu Bawumia, PM of Guinea, Ibrahima Kassory Fofana, and Deputy PM Lesotho Monyane Moleleki, also participated in the conclave. The annual conclave brings together government officials, politicians, policy makers, business leaders, technologists, entrepreneurs, among others, from India and Africa, deepening the India-Africa economic ties. India’s development projects in Africa have included hydro and thermal power projects and dams in Sudan and Rwanda to water treatment plants in Tanzania, sugar factories in Ethiopia and IT Parks in Mozambique and Swaziland. India has also helped build the Presidential Place in Ghana and the National Assembly building in the Gambia, besides other numerous critical projects.

A growing number of Indian construction companies have set up solar stations, roads, ports, electricity transmission and distribution networks, watershed projects, among others. India is setting up a pan- Africa e-Arogya Bharti Network Project to serve as a digital bridge between India and Africa shrinking the distance between India and Africa even more. This project will also aid Africa’s journey towards achieving its Sustainable Development Goals, primarily in education and healthcare, while enriching the lives of its youth-heavy population. Interestingly, India has come up as a popular destination for medical services and higher education for people from the continent. Meanwhile, India has emerged as a reliable partner for skill development and capacity building and scaling up to empower various African governments.

As part its unwavering commitment to Africa, Government of India has forwarded a concessional credit line of US$10 billion to the continent for the period 2015-20, while also rolling out a plan to develop 18 new diplomatic missions over 2018-2021.

As part its unwavering commitment to Africa, Government of India has forwarded a concessional credit line of US$10 billion to the continent for the period 2015-20, while also rolling out a plan to develop 18 new diplomatic missions over 2018-2021. The new Indian missions in countries such as Cameroon, Chad, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Swaziland, among others, will increase the number of Resident Indian Missions in Africa from 29 to 47. The missions have facilitated bilateral opportunities for Indian traders and investors in Africa and vice versa. Indian companies have invested over US$54 billion in Africa so far, and the nation’s trade with the continent is now worth over US$62.7 billion. This has seen rapid growth, aided by strengthening diplomatic relations.

Improved economic opportunities

Today, India and Africa are one of the most rapidly evolving economic partners in the world. While, Africa is the continent of the future, India is touted to emerge as a global economic leader. As the world’s major economies reel from rising protectionism, political uncertainties and economic slowdowns, India and Africa together may well become the engines of global economic growth of the future. While India can contribute capital, skills and technological aid to sustain Africa’s growth, Africa can in turn support India’s growth through mutually beneficial resources partnerships and easier access to each other’s expanding markets. On the back of the evolving association, there remain options for India and African countries to form free trade deals and set up new trade blocs that can augment the region’s economies.

Africa is already one of India’s fastest growing end market and investment destinations. To further boost this relationship, several African states were visited by the President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President of India Shri M Venkaiah Naidu and the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in 2018, continuing into 2019. Owing to the renewed association, there remain options for India and African nations to form free trade deals and set up new trade blocs that can augment the region’s economies. Ties have been bolstered by the launch of the India-led International Solar Alliance (ISA) – a platform of more than 120 nations (including several from Africa) to finance and develop solar projects to drive economic growth. ISA aism to mobilise US$1 trillion to install more than 1,000 GW of solar capacity worldwide by 2030.

India’s development partnership in Africa currently includes around 180 lines of credit worth over US$11 billion in over 40 countries. In 2017, India hosted the 52nd Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank. Africa is a major export market for a cross-section of Indian products, with Africa-India trade estimated to reach US$120 billion by 2020-21, including export volume of over US$70 billion. Besides growing export markets, Africa has offered investment opportunities for Indian firms in sectors such as financial services, energy and power, manufacturing, mining, transport, healthcare and agro processing. In October 2018, India also attended a conclave in Nigeria focussed on boosting business to government and business to business interactions between India and 17 West African nations to drive future ties.

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