Genuine partnership or a marriage of convenience?
India–Africa relations in the 21st century
Fantu Cheru and Cyril Obi
2011-06-16, Issue 535
From most indications, India and China, two leading emerging economies in the world, are competing with each other, as well as Africa’s traditional western trading partners, to build a stronger relationship with Africa. Both Asian giants have contributed to the increase in the volume and value of African exports, bringing in more revenue to resource-rich African countries. This has provided African countries with an opportunity also to diversify the destination of exports, creating some room for greater flexibility, as well as an alternative to the condition-laden, asymmetrical relations into which African countries had been hitherto locked with their western trading partners and financial institutions. By the same logic, India and China have provided Africa with cheaper imports, investments and low-cost technology, while their resource diplomacy has provided the continent with new and visible forms of development cooperation and aid that are largely free of the terms imposed by western partners. It would appear that this competition between India and China is underscored by the quest for oil, markets, minerals, raw materials and influence. Although the growing presence of India and China in Africa is creating some concern in western capitals, particularly in the context of a ‘new’ scramble for Africa’s resources and the implications of such ties for democracy and accountability in Africa, it is rather too early to tell whether this renewed interest in Africa by China and India will constitute a new dimension of South–South relations, or alternatively, if it will produce new forms of asymmetrical relations. What is clear, however, is that the rise of both India and China in Africa certainly will have significant implications for the future of Africa’s development and its international relations. Trade between China and Africa grew from $20 billion in 2001 to more than $120 billion in 2009. Similarly, India’s trade with Africa (excluding oil) also surged from $914 million in 1991 to between $25 billion and $30 billion in 2008.
Despite official Indian denial that there is no competition between the two Asian giants (The Economic Times 2010) in Africa, India’s foreign policy swings between attempting to catch up with the Chinese, who have made major inroads in Africa over the past decade, and accommodating the aspirations of China, India and the western world in the context of India’s enduring relations with the continent. Thus, we argue that what we see is an emerging trend of competition sometimes moderated by accommodation. This competition centres on three major issues: energy security, access to Africa’s untapped markets and diplomatic influence (National Intelligence Council 2004; Martin 2008).
Also of note is the reality that India cannot match China’s ‘deep pockets’ when it comes to resource diplomacy, state backing for private sector investments, and the provision of credit and aid to African countries. India compensates for this with its rhetoric of being a true friend and equal partner of Africa that is keen to facilitate development on the continent, as defined by Africans themselves, in the spirit of solidarity and mutual benefit. However, India’s policy toward Africa is different from China’s more in terms of its form/degree than of its intent (Mawdsley and McCann 2010). It is important to note that when stripped of its rhetoric, it is hard to ignore the similarities between the African strategies of India and China, which Naidu rightly observes is found in ‘their demands for resource security, trade and investment opportuni- ties, forging of strategic partnerships, African–Asian solidarity and South–South solidarity’ (Naidu 2010, p. 34).
The other aspect that relates to the expansion of Indian influence in Africa is framed in the context of an Indo-Africa renaissance, which can act both for economic partnership and a voice in shaping the emerging world order (Sharma 2009). In this regard, India has doubled its lines of credit (LOC), opened up niches in the areas of human resource development, technical training and capacity building, energy cooperation, investments, a pan-African e-network and the transfer of low-cost appropriate technology. Although the evidence strongly indicates that ‘India has lagged behind China’s aggressive courting of African nations to secure rights to energy as well as raw materials’ (Redvers 2010), India’s competition with China in Africa will serve as an interesting window on the way in which these three issues affect Indian policy.
INDIA’S RACE TO CATCH UP WITH THE CHINESE
It is important to establish from the outset that India is not a new- comer to Africa and the relationship dates back to the pre-colonial period. It became stronger during the period of anti-colonial struggle and later, at the height of the cold war, when India, under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, took an instrumental role in the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to demand for a just international order. The principle of non- alignment and South–South cooperation became the centrepiece of Indian foreign policy until the late 1980s.
With the economic liberalisation in the 1990s, India’s foreign policy objectives became more pragmatic, with the aim of promoting India’s economic ambitions on the world stage. Just as China had done under Premier Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s, India began to strengthen its external relations with Europe, the United States and its closest neighbours in Asia to fully realise its political and economic ambitions. Among India’s more recent foreign policy initiatives were the decisions to enter into a strategic dialogue with the US, open new economic relations with the countries of Latin America and Asia, ease tensions with China and pursue a deliberate policy to collaborate with them in key international organisations, such as the World Trade Organisation. Yet, engagement with the African continent did not peak in India’s ambitious globalisation strategy until 2008, almost a decade after Beijing’s well-coordinated penetration of the African market.
There are a number of reasons why New Delhi is increasingly courting the African continent. At the forefront of India’s foreign policy priorities is energy security (Patey, Chapter 9 in this volume; Obi 2010; Vines and Campos 2010). The Indian economy has grown rapidly from the 1990s, and securing cheap energy and other strategic raw materials from the African continent on a long-term basis has become an economic and political imperative. It is projected that by 2030 India will be the world’s third-largest consumer of energy (Madan 2006). Currently, 75 per cent of India’s oil imports come from the politically volatile Middle East. Because India possesses few proven oil reserves, diversifying the sources of its energy supply by developing stronger economic ties with the African continent tops the political agenda (Sharma and Mahajan 2007). With projections suggesting that India will depend on oil for almost 90 per cent of its energy needs by the end of this decade, it is little wonder that energy security through the diversification of supplies is a key priority. Given Africa’s position as the last oil frontier, it is only strategic that India engages the continent in pursuit of its energy security interests. This urgency is further elevated by the increasing scramble for African resources by both China and the industrialised countries. Second, Africa has emerged as an important market for Indian goods and services, as well as a vital element in India’s quest for strategic minerals and other natural resources needed to feed its burgeoning economy. In this regard, the Indian private sector, with some government support, has been active in expanding trade and investment in Africa and to capture Africa’s untapped market potential. Accordingly, India’s trade with Africa expanded by 500 per cent, from $5.2 billion in 2003 to an estimated $26 billion in 2008. The most recent figures for 2009 indicate that India’s trade with Africa has grown to an estimated ‘US$39 billion, com- pared to China–Africa trade of US$109 billion’ (Indiainteracts 2010), showing a continuous growth in Indo-African trade, but also indicating the gap between India and China’s trade with Africa. India is working hard, however, as suggested by agreements reached at the March 2010 India–Africa Conclave meeting in New Delhi attended by 400 African delegates from 34 countries, ‘to scale up its bilateral trade with Africa to US$70 billion by 2015’ (Thaindian News 2010).
Similarly, African countries have been interested in acquiring cost effective and intermediate technology from India in the fields of information technology, agriculture, health and pharmaceuticals (Modi 2010). Only half a million Africans have access to the internet, and there is thus a pressing need to narrow the digital divide. Africans also want to gain more knowledge and expertise from India’s successful green revolution experience in order to attain food self-sufficiency. In the field of health, African consumers are interested to have access to affordable drugs as well as treatment in India’s highly sophisticated health delivery system (Beri 2008). Third, as its economic power grows, India also has decided to project its military power in the Indian Ocean region, which it has long considered to be within its sphere of influence. Given the existence of extremist organisations and criminal syndicates that traffic drugs, arms and people, as well as pirates in the Indian Ocean region, India has begun to dramatically expand its military presence in the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean, through which the oil tankers that carry nearly all of India’s oil imports must travel (Volman 2009).
In October 2008, Indian warships began conducting patrols off the Somali coast to protect ships from pirate attacks. India has also established a listening post in northern Madagascar, which consists of a radar surveillance station equipped with a high-tech digital communications system and which is intended, at least in part, to monitor Chinese activities. In 2003, India signed a defence cooperation agreement with Seychelles and in 2006 signed a defence agreement with Mozambique to provide arms and to conduct regular naval patrols off Mozambique’s coast (Vines, Chapter 11 in this volume; Vines and Oruitemeka 2008).
The Indian government has launched a number of initiatives to strengthen economic cooperation between Africa and India. This engagement takes three forms: development assistance, foreign direct investment and trade, and diplomacy. There are two instruments through which India extends development assistance: the LOC extended by the Export-Import (Exim) Bank of India and the traditional technical assistance predominately managed by the country’s ministry of external affairs. Overall, Indian development assistance has grown from Rs.9.2 billion in 2000 to Rs.25 billion in 2009 (Ministry of Finance 2009). Needless to say, it is difficult to ascertain precisely the volume and types of India’s development assistance to Africa because complete and disaggregated data is hard to find (Jobelius 2007; Kragelund 2008; Rowlands 2008). The available data does not make a distinction between what the OECD’s (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) development action committee would define as aid and what is export credit, a problem that also holds true to Chinese aid to Africa (Brautigam 2009). As will be made clear later in this chapter, a large part of what India spends on development assistance in Africa is nothing more than an export subsidy scheme for surplus Indian goods (Agrawal 2007; Mawdsley and McCann 2010).
The share of India’s official development assistance going to Africa is relatively small compared with aid going to India’s Asian neighbours (Mawdsley 2010). In the fiscal year 2009–10, a mere Rs.20.53 billion was allocated to the whole of Africa, compared to the Rs.400.00 billion allocated to Afghanistan. The bulk of Indian development assistance to Africa is devoted to training, capacity building, project-related consultancy services, deputation of experts, study tours and other ‘soft’ investments, although the country also supports a number of capital projects financed by export credit extended through the Exim Bank (Katti et al 2009; Sinha 2010).
Among the most important technical assistance programmes are the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme and the Special Commonwealth African Assistance Programme for Africa (SCAAP). Under ITEC and SCAAP, some 1,000 African experts are given short-term training in India every year in a number of technical fields — from public administration to agricultural research and computer literacy. In addition, the ITEC programme provides scholarships to African students who take regular academic courses in India (Katti et al 2009).
Increasingly, however, commercial interests have become embedded in India’s foreign policy. As India faces a potential energy crisis, Africa has entered centre stage in India’s foreign policy priorities and development assistance is channelled to achieve this goal (Mawdsley and McCann 2010; Obi 2010; Vines and Campos 2010). Currently, about 24–30 per cent of India’s crude oil imports is sourced from Africa (Obi 2009). Consequently, India has stepped up its diplomatic offensive in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea, where 70 per cent of African oil is extracted. Indian oil companies, such as the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Videsh Limited (OVL), have invested heavily in equity assets in Sudan, Ivory Coast, Libya, Egypt, Nigeria, Gabon and Angola. India has also recently completed a $200 million project to lay pipeline from Khartoum to Port Sudan on the Red Sea. Indian companies have invested in exploration and production blocks in Madagascar and Nigeria (the latter currently accounts for between 10 per cent and 15 per cent of India’s total oil imports, estimated at 400,000 barrels per day and is the second largest source of Indian imports).
During a visit to Abuja the Nigerian capital city, as part of a four-nation Africa tour in January 2010, Murli Deora, India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, announced the country’s commitment to invest $360 million to develop two oil blocs (Oil Prospecting Licenses 279 and 285). Also included in the package was a deal between ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation) Mittal and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to establish a refinery and explore the possibility of cooperation between GAIL (India) and India Oil Corporation in the Nigerian liquefied natural gas sector (Ezigbo 2010). Deora’s tour marked the latest endeavour of India’s burgeoning African petro-diplomacy. For example, it represented a follow-up to the second India–Africa Hydrocarbon conference in New Delhi in December 2009, and underscored the industry of the Indian state in pursu- ing India’s energy security interests in Africa in the face of com-petition from China and western oil-import dependent countries.
The Focus Africa Programme launched in 2002 by the Ministry of Commerce and administered by the Exim Bank of India aims to provide financial assistance to various trade promotion organisa- tions and export promotion councils. The programme now covers some 24 African countries and has been instrumental in encouraging and assisting the tremendous growth in Indian exports to sub-Saharan African countries. The programme has particularly targeted regional economic blocks, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa as critical nodes to expand Indian exports to the sub-regions by extending to them LOC.
Two years later, the Techno-Economic Approach for Africa- India Movement (TEAM-9) for cooperation between India and eight West and Central African countries situated in the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea was initiated to promote trade and investment (Beri 2008). This is essentially a credit facility with a volume of $500 million for Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mali and Senegal. The aim is to promote economic development in these countries through access to Indian technology. Some of the projects established under this initiative include $30 million for rural electrification in Ghana, a $4 million bicycle plant in Chad, a $12 million tractor assembly plant in Mali and a $15 million potable drinking water project in Equatorial Guinea (see Vittorini and Harris, Chapter 12, this volume).
Another novel initiative by India has been the launch of the Pan-African e-Network in February 2009. The aim of the project is to bridge the digital divide and accelerate development on the African continent. The project, which is expected to cost $1 billion, supports tele-education, tele-medicine, resource mapping and e-commerce. For example, major hospitals in many African countries are now connected through the e-network with the leading Indian hospitals and receiving real-time instructions and assistance to provide advanced medical services to their patients (Modi 2009). State-owned Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd will implement the network, which India will manage for five years before turning it over to the Africa Union (AU).
In April 2008, the first official India–Africa Summit was held in New Delhi, indicating the coming of age of India’s relations with the African continent. Among the many initiatives that India announced at the summit were:
- An increase of the existing level of credit to Africa from about $2 billion to $5.4 billion by 2013.
- A duty-free tariff preference scheme for 34 least developed African countries. The scheme will cover 94 per cent of total tariff lines and products, such as cotton, cocoa, aluminium ores, copper ores, cashew nuts, cane sugar, clothing and non- industrial diamonds.
- The doubling of trade from $25 billion to $50 billion by 2011.
- A $500 million budget allocation for capacity building and human resource development, expanding existing training programmes for African students and technocrats.
- Support to Africa’s regional integration efforts and provision of financial support to the AU and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). This includes a $200 million line of credit to NEPAD.
The second India–Africa Summit will take place in the spring of 2011 and is expected to review implementation of the agreed goals of the first summit and promote new initiatives to expand the economic and political relationship between Africa and India. The picture emerging thus far is that, despite a slow start, India’s strategy toward Africa is becoming more focused, and policy coherence between the activities of various Indian economic agents and the Indian state has improved significantly during the past three years. With a huge Indian diaspora in Africa, English as the principal working language for the Indian private sector and the government bureaucracy, and given its proximity to the continent, India is steadily consolidating its expanding and much closer ties with Africa. In the medium to long term, it could conceivably close the gap with China on the continent.
THE INDIAN PRIVATE SECTOR
Unlike the predominantly state-driven approach of China, India’s entry into Africa is spearheaded by private companies covering sectors such as telecommunications, agriculture, hotels, mining, rail and road infrastructure and pharmaceuticals. Buoyed by the economic boom in India, the easy availability of capital and the search for new markets, Indian companies such as Kirloskar Brothers Limited, the Tata Group, Mahindra and Mahindra, Fortis, Escort and Apollo have begun looking to the continent of Africa as a source of raw materials and markets. There are long- established trade relations between Africa and India, yet according to many commentators and businesspersons African nations are interacting with a renewed wave of Indian exporters in sectors in which Indian light engineering products, consumer goods and intermediate products can compete on price and are well adapted to local conditions. Indian companies are also seeking to mine gold, diamonds, manganese, bauxite, iron ore and chrome, either by operating new mines or by forming local partnerships with local firms to exploit existing ones.
The dramatic growth of the Indian private sector in Africa has taken place under the stewardship of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), the publicly owned Exim Bank of India and the captains of major Indian companies. Between 2004 and 2011, the CII and Exim Bank have jointly organised seven major meet- ings that brought together key Indian and African private sector organisations and government representatives to discuss and review the progress made in deepening economic engagement between India and Africa (Bhattacharya 2010; Modi 2010).
In addition to the Indian private sector, Indian state-owned corporations, such as the Indian Telecom Industries, Rail India Technical and Economic Services (Rites), Konkan Railways, the ONGC and many others are also very active in the extractive sec- tor as well as in large-scale construction projects, such as roads, railways, telecommunications and the building construction sectors. For example, although Rites and IRCON, the two large state-owned infrastructure and engineering companies have been engaged in construction of rail networks and the leasing of locomotives in Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya and Mozambique, companies such as Kalapaaru Power Transmission Ltd have secured major contracts to build power transmission sites. In general, the state-owned enterprises work very closely with the Indian private enterprise and operators in both sectors draw a great deal of support from the Exim Bank through its LOC programme.
The Exim Bank has been a key institution and has played a critical role in facilitating the entry of Indian private sector companies into Africa, including the financing of major capital projects on the continent (Mawdsley and McCann 2010). It has done this through its LOCs to African governments, parastatal boards, regional entities such as the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank, the West African Development Bank, and the East Africa Development Bank to promote Indian exports and consultancy ser- vices to Africa. According S.R. Rao, the Chief General Manager of the Exim Bank of India, some 30 LOCs were in operation in Africa in 2006 alone, totalling about $1 billion (Rao 2006, p. 21).
At the end of March 2009, almost $2.27 billion (or 60 per cent of total Exim LOCs of $3.75 billion) went to African countries. In the financial year 2008–09 alone, the Exim Bank extended 25 LOCs worth $479 million to Africa (Exim Bank 2008). Total LOCs are expected to reach $5.4 billion over the next five years. Examples of funded projects in Africa executed by Indian companies include: supply of pharmaceuticals (Uganda, Ghana); building of transmission lines (Kenya); telecom projects (Malawi); a rail- way construction project (Tanzania); the erection of a sugar plant (Nigeria); and a sewerage study (Ethiopia) (Rao 2006).
Although the increasing volume of LOCs to individual African countries, regional multilateral bodies by the Exim Bank is a good indication of the private sector-led thrust of India’s Africa policy, there is a risk of adding to Africa’s debt burden. Great care must be taken to balance credits destined to promote mere consumption of Indian luxury goods versus credits to support investment aimed at raising African productivity, increasing income and reducing poverty in the long term.
Furthermore, the OECD has been extremely critical of both India and China’s approach to trade with Africa, arguing that both the Asian giants are mainly interested in securing raw materials and energy from Africa and finding new markets for their cheap goods and services. Because this could lead to ‘Dutch disease’ in African countries, it is not to their advantage in the long term (Goldstein et al 2006). This conclusion has already been assigned to Chinese investments in Africa and India will not be able to escape the same criticism if it fails to heed African concerns.
In addition to providing export credits, the Exim Bank has bought equity stake in the Africa Export-Import Bank (Afrex- imbank), the West African Development Bank and the Development Bank of Zambia. It also has a strong relationship with the African Development Bank (AfDB), and as a non-regional member of this bank has been able to assist Indian companies to bid successfully in AfDB-financed infrastructure projects in Africa. It also influences private sector development in Africa through its consultancy and advisory services to numerous African governments and the World Bank Group, resulting in the participation of Indian companies in projects financed by the International Finance Corporation under its Africa project development facility, the Africa Enterprise Fund and the Technical Assistance and Trust Fund in a number of African countries (Rao 2006).
On the diplomatic front, both India and China compete fiercely to win the hearts and minds of African leaders for their respective foreign policy goals. The big prize for China is winning the support of Africans for its ‘one China’ policy over Taiwan; for India, the big prize is securing a seat at the UN Security Council (Schaffer and Mitra 2005; Suri 2007). As noted earlier, India’s pitch has been to underscore its long-standing relationship with the continent, its track record of solidarity with Africa in struggles of decolonisation and the quest for development. Indian diplomats and government officials are quick to emphasise that far from being a fair-weather friend, India offers a unique model of engagement with the continent based on equality, mutual respect and benefits. As Tharoor recently asserted, ‘we do not wish to go and demand certain rights or impose certain rights or projects or impose our ideas in Africa. But we want to contribute to Africa’s development objectives’ (Indiainteracts 2010). However, like China, India has hosted African summits, which have been (at least partially) concerned with the promotion of Indian business and hydrocarbon interests.
There is also the fact that India is a multiparty democracy, which acts as a form of leverage and legitimacy in its dealings with Africa but also constitutes a bureaucratic bottleneck preventing quick and timely decisions with regard to its interests in a rather competitive African scene. But the recent upsurge in visits by Indian high-ranking officials to strategic African countries and the engagement of Africa’s regional organisations point to greater Indian presence and influence on the continent. By seeking to differentiate its model of engagement with Africa from that of China and the western powers, India is no doubt attempting to carve an image for itself as an alternate and beneficial partner as it seeks to out-manoeuvre a more endowed and aggressive China that has so far outpaced it in the ‘new’ scramble for Africa.
Another aspect of India’s Africa diplomacy that deserves some attention is its role in the training of Africa’s militaries and peace- keepers. India continues to be one of the largest contributors to peacekeeping missions in Africa (Singh 2007). According to Singh (2007), India has been a part of all UN peacekeeping missions in Africa. Although Indian peacekeepers had to be withdrawn from Sierra Leone, reports of India’s involvement in peacekeeping operations on the continent have been largely positive. India is also the third-largest troop contributor to UN African peace operations (Singh 2007), and its efforts in supporting peace operations on the continent cannot be separated from its efforts to promote peace and its influence in Africa, while also playing a positive role in world affairs.
Following the lead of many European donors, India has also been supporting African regional institutions, such as the AU and NEPAD, ECOWAS and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as stated above. Indeed, the India-South African relationship was formalised through the formation of the SADC-Indian Forum in 2003, and within the context of the tripartite India-Brazil-South Africa institution. India has contributed $200 million for the implementation of various projects under NEPAD. Also the Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) have signed a memorandum of understanding with ECOWAS on trade relations (Afrique en ligne 2010).
To underscore its strategic partnership with Africa, India and the AU have recently ‘finalised a Plan of Action of the Framework for Cooperation of the Indian African Forum Summit’ (NetIndian 2010). The framework is both to guide the implementation of the agreements reached at the first India–Africa Forum Summit and set the stage for the second summit planned for the spring of 2011. In this regard, the programme sets out the details for establishing several institutions to promote Indo-African relations. These include the India Africa Institute for Foreign Trade, India Africa Diamond Institute, India Africa Institute of Educational Planning and Administration, India Africa Institute of Information Technology, and the Pan African Stock Exchange (NetIndian 2010).
PROSPECTS FOR INDIA–AFRICA RELATIONS
India is moving fast to consolidate its growing footprint in Africa as it competes with China and with developed countries to secure energy, raw material resources, and markets to fuel its growing economy and export its manufactured goods and services. India’s active engagement with Africa is motivated by a general desire to exert greater influence in global affairs and more specifically to secure African diplomatic support in New Delhi’s quest to gain a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Although China currently dominates the African market, India will more likely gain the comparative advantage in the medium to long term: its strong diasporic community on the ground in Africa, its proximity to the continent, its use of historical ties and special niches to promote its cause of African friendship, its first-class education system and its enduring democratic tradition will contribute towards making it more competitive than China (Modi 2010).
For the Indian private sector to succeed in doing business in Africa, it requires elaborate and proactive state guidance. At the moment, such guidance does not exist in a coordinated way and is only just being constructed. The democratic setup of India, which will be an advantage in the long term, can in the short term also fetter business process because of the bureaucratic state machinary. Furthermore, with an aggressive free press, transparency in business contracts needs to be maintained. The challenge for the government is how to actively support India’s private business in Africa while staying firm on the need to uphold the principles of democratic practice and corporate social responsibility in the areas of labour standards, environment sustainability and respect for human rights.
Needless to say, there is a growing concern in Africa that the increasing engagements of the Asian giants in their search for energy, minerals, markets and influence, if not managed properly could turn out to be just as bad as the scramble for resources that led to the colonisation of the continent during the second half of the 19th century. Some of the risks include:
- Increasing ‘securitisation’ of African international relations (Volman 2009)
- Weak governance standards and misallocation of receipts from high raw material prices
- A weakening of the still low local standards and regulations on environment and labour
- The destruction of local economies unable to compete with China and India’s hyper-competitive manufacturing sectors
- Political support to African regimes that are not open to democratic governance (Goldstein et al 2006; Cheru and Obi 2010).
Unless India is prepared to address these critical African concerns, the red carpet rolled out to welcome it to the continent will quickly be rolled up and taken away, and the stigma of India as a new coloniser will take decades to erase. In the final analysis, the prospects for India–Africa relations contributing positively to African development ultimately lie in the hands of Africa’s political and economic elites, their fulfilment (or betrayal) of the visionary and transformative potential that the diversification of African production and exports represents in the context of an emergent shift in post-cold war global power from the West to the East.
BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS
* This essay is an extract from 'India in Africa: Changing Geographies of Power', edited by Emma Mawdsley, Gerard McCann and published by Pambazuka Press (ISBN: 1-906387-65-6).
* Fantu Cheru is research director of the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala. and Emeritus Professor of African and Development Studies at American University in Washington, DC.
* Cyril Obi is a senior researcher and leader of the research cluster on Conflict, Displacement and Transformation at the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden
* Please send comments to editor[at]pambazuka[dot]org or comment online at Pambazuka News.
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