Third India- Africa Summit: Civil Services Mentor Magazine - January - 2016

Third India- Africa Summit

India has a special relationship with Africa. India and countries from Africa face similar kind of problems like poverty, malnutrition etc. In International organisations also India and countries from Africa represent mostly similar interests. India since its independence has given high importance to African region. India fought against colonialism and also spearheaded campaign against it after the Independence. In fact, the centuries-old ties between India and Africa, especially with countries in eastern and southern Africa, were firmed up due to India’s consistent support to anti-colonial and anti-racist liberation struggles in Africa.

Now after the political problems of African nations with outside world has largely been settled, major area of coperation has shifted. Now our major area of coperation include economic, terrorism and maritine safety. India and Africa together makes one third of the world population and majority of it is youth. They both will supply the manpower to the world for years to come. After liberalisation in 1991 India has achieved an average growth rate of more than six percent for over two decades now. Strategic mineral commodities, especially oil, became essential for India’s growing and energy-hungry economy. India has good working relationship with countries which have good oil and mineral resources. Countries like South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Sudan, Nigeria and Angola etc. all have good relationship with the India. Relationship between India and Africa has not been one way, India supplies technology and money to African countries, these are required in Africa for developmental purposes.

It is not only India which has been growing in recent years, Africa also has increased its growth rate from less than three percent to more than five percent in between 1990’s and 2000’s. Further according to the World Bank, seven out of ten fastest growing economies in the world during the last decade are from Africa. Despite Africa’s relatively strong economic performance in the recent years many countries in the continent are grappling with several developmental challenges such as high unemployment, lack of economic transformation, food insecurity, environmental degradation etc. Africa requires high amount of capital to deal with these challenges. India’s main focus have been to develop the human resource and build the capacity of population in African countries. India has extended development assistance worth $ 7.4 billion through lines of credit given by the Export Import bank. Of this $6.8 billion has been approved and about $3.5 billion, nearly half, has been disbursed. These lines of credit have led to the completion of 137 projects in 41 countries across Africa. Apart from this, India had also pledged to set up nearly 100 Indian Africa Training Institutes across the continent.

Despite all these positive aspects of partnership between India and Africa, there are some things which still needs special attention from both India and African countries. Maritime security has been a big challenge for both India and Africa. Despite best of efforts from India and Africa maritime piracy is still not vanished. India has made contacts with other countries to remove this problem, but still a lot more is desired. Besides, the advent of non-state multinational terrorist organisations, such as al-Shabaab in east Africa and Boko Haram in Nigeria, as well as diverse terrorist outfits operating in India, make cooperation in sub-conventional warfare between the two mandatory as far as combating terrorism is concerned. Similarly Indian generic drugs, due to their relatively cheap prices, are used heavily to fight HIV/ Aids in Africa. Other contentious issues include rise of terrorist organistions like Boko Haram inside Africa. They are a challenge to every country across the world and especially India.

In order to solve and discuss problems and challenges above India and Africa regularly organise a summit. Recently Third India-African summit was organised in Delhi. Fourty one out of fifty four leaders from the African region participated in the summit, only 15 leaders participated in the 2008 and 2011 summit. Significantly, after the IAFS this year, African countries have insisted the next conference be held after five years, not three years, a possible fallout. High attendance also gave an unexpected problem to India as there are internal differences between the countries in african region. Difference between Morocco and Western Sahara came into open.

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