- Africa is considered a foreign policy priority by india.
- even as the covid-19 era began in march 2020, new delhi took new initiatives to assist africa through prompt despatch of medicines and later vaccines.
- But now the policy implementation needs a critical review.
Why india africa policy needs re-energizing:
- Decline in india-africa trade: according to the confederation of indian industry, in
2020-21, india’s exports to and imports from africa stood, respectively, at $27.7 billion and $28.2 billion, a reduction of 4.4% and 25% over the previous year.
The bilateral trade valued at $55.9 billion in 2020-21, fell by $10.8 billion compared to 2019-20, and $15.5 billion compared to the peak year of 2014-15.
- Decrease in investment by india in africa: india’s investments in africa saw a decrease
from $3.2 billion in 2019-20 to $2.9 billion in 2020-21.
The total investments over 25 years, from april 1996 to march 2021, are now just $70.7
billion, which is about one-third of chinas investment in africa.
- Lack of diversity india – africa trade: the composition of the india-africa trade has not
changed much over the two decades.
- india’s top three exports to africa are mineral fuels and oils (processed petroleum
products), pharmaceutical products and vehicles.
The mineral fuels and oils, (essentially crude oil) and pearls, precious or semiprecious
stones are the top two imports accounting for over 77% of our imports from africa.
- India’s focus is confined to indo-pacific region: the geopolitical tensions in asia and the imperative to consolidate its position in the indo-pacific region have compelled new delhi to concentrate on its ties with the united kingdom, the eu, and the quad powers.
- Confinement of india’s security role: india’s security role in the africa’s continental
littorals has struggled to move beyond the anti-piracy agenda.
Significance of african policy:
- India’s top five markets today are south africa, nigeria, egypt, kenya and togo and the countries from which india imports the most are south africa, nigeria, egypt, angola and guinea
- Geopolitical and social engagement of india in africa: india’s role in peacekeeping in africa, in lending support to african counter-terrorism operations, and contributing to african institutions through training and capacity enhancing assistance.
- India technical cooperation with africa: information technology (it) is an important pillar given the role of the information and communication technology (ict) sector in india’s growth story and the importance most african leaders attach to ict sector development.
- India japan africa corridor: it represents a joint indo-japanese effort
aimed at building infrastructure in africa which is meant to be complemented with digital connectivity across africa.
Measures to be adopted:
- Fresh allocation of financial resources to africa: india must allocate fresh financial resources for grants and concessional loans to africa as previous allocations stand almost fully exhausted.
- International ally support for india africa policy: india-eu summit has identified africa as a region where a partnership-based approach will be followed.
- Ability to raise its security game in africa: africa’s maritime sector has shown great
promise for economic development with rising economic development and the gradual
integration of african states into the global economy.
- Economic relations to be given top priority: indian and african governments
must exert themselves more to address the concerns and grievances of indian business
- Capacity development: the flagship programme i.e. India technical and economic cooperation (itec) needs an independent, critical evaluation with a view to making it more modern, effective, and responsive to african needs.
It is time to seize the opportunity and restore africa’s to its primary positions in india’s diplomacy and economic engagement.
Question-africa is at a critical juncture and india could play many roles in its growth story. Examine