India-Africa Partnership in the Era of Globalization
India and Africa are two ancient civilizations. They both share a com¬mon colonial past and ideological orientation. India’s engagement with Africa in modern times goes back to the pre-colonial period. Since the British colonial rule was also esta¬blished in many African countries, they became instrumental in initiat¬ing the interactions between the two peoples. For the purpose of colonial exploitation the cheap labour from India was brought in many African countries to work as plantation workers. It was in this context that many Indian workers were brought to South Africa as plantation labour. As the British government followed the policy of racialism in South Africa, the Indian labourers were subjected to various forms of racial discrimi¬nation. It was in this background that Gandhi went to South Africa in 1893 and launched his non-violent Satya- grah against the racial policies of the white regime. This became the inspiration for future struggle against colonialism and racialism in South Africa in future also. It is not a chance that the symbol of fight against racialism Nelson Mandela is known as African Gandhi.
India was one of the first colo- nialized countries to get indepen¬dence from colonial rule. The second phase if India’s engagement with African countries started with India’ persistent efforts to resist colonialism and racialism in Africa and else¬where. The new foundation of Afro- Asian countries was laid down by Bandung conference 1955, which later led to the development of NAM in 1961. As the leading member of NAM, India came at the fore front in the fight against colonialism and racialism in Africa. India was the first country to raise the issue of apartheid in the UN. In 1964 alone, many African countries became indepen¬dent from colonial rule. The NAM became a popular and natural choice for the people of Africa. Next was the issue of development. India suppor¬ted the cause of the New Inter¬national Economic Order (NIEO), 1974 which aimed at developing a just and equitable global economic order. India also launched various development programmes in African countries under the rubric of South- South Cooperation.
The relations with African coun¬tries became lukewarm in 1990, as India was recovering from the econo¬mic crisis and the disintegration of Soviet Union presented new global conditions before India. As India gradually emerged from the condi¬tion of post-cold war uncertainties, she tried to renew her development partnership with African countries. The process of globalization has not worked well for the benefits of African countries. The socio-political conflicts hamper the process of development in African countries. It is in this context that India has strengthened her efforts to develop mutually beneficial partnership with countries of Africa. This continues to be the cornerstone of India’s present policy in Africa. While, IBSA was formed in 2003 to address the collective problems of South-South Cooperation, India has intensified bilateral efforts to strengthen deve¬lopment partnership with African countries. The two India-Africa Forum Summits in 2008 and 2011 should be seen in this perspective.
It is not only that India has helped African countries in their development efforts, but india has received their valuable support on many regional and international issues. India is in search of the energy security and Africa provides a good opportunity to ensure that as it is rich in energy resources. India has expanded her economic engagement with Africa to include investment and development assistance as major policy ingredients.
A. Political and Strategic Co-operation
Africa has 14 per cent of the global population and contributes 53 members in the UN. Out of 53 countries, 34 fall in the category of Least Developed Countries or LDCs. For a long time it has suffered the worst form of colonialism, racialism and exploitation of human and physical resources by colonial powers. The independence after the World War II gave new ray of hope for better future. In spite of the best efforts for its modernization and development, it has been suffering from many ills like ethnic conflicts, political instability, various forms of authoritarian rule, poverty, hunger and disease and poor infrastructure for development. However, it is rich in natural resources. Of late, many countries have shown the promise of progress. In last decade there has been satisfactory economic growth in some countries. In general, the globa¬lization has not produced desired benefits.
India and Africa have many common grounds to forge political and strategic relationships. Imme¬diately after the World War II, India and Africa stood together to fight colonialism and racialism under the common platform provided by NAM. India supported the freedom strug¬gles in African countries. After their independence, India forged mutually beneficial partnership with African countries. India, with the help of bilateral as well as multilateral measures, strived for the peace and development of African countries. Also, both shared a common pers¬pective on a large number of global issues. Both came to hold similar perspective on various regional and international forums, United Nations was just one of them. India received valuable political support to her external policies and programmes
from African countries. India has been elected record seven times as the non-permanent member of Security Council only with the support of African countries.
However, with the end of cold war and the disintegration of Soviet Union in 1991, a new global environ¬ment has emerged, which forced both to review the existing paradigms of interaction. The globalization pro¬vided new opportunities and chal¬lenges for both. In the initial phases of globalization, Africa was left to her fate. However, the new challenges of our time like terrorism, climate change, energy and food crisis, human rights, trade and development imbalances, poverty provide new opportunity for strengthening their partnership. At present, if Africa needs India for her development and growth, India needs Africa for a number of factors. India has provided substantial development assistance to African countries, contributed in the human resources development, made substantial contributions to food aid and peace-keeping personnel through multilateral institutions, especially the United Nations. There are many strategic attractions for India in Africa. First, India needs the political and strategic support of African countries to perform a larger role in global affairs. India’s global profile has been raised in last few years. Such areas of common interest are the reforms on the UN and other finan¬cial institutions, climate change nego¬tiations, international trade negotia¬tions and so on. Second, India is a fast developing economy and, it needs new markets for the continuing growth. Third, India is in search of assured and safe sources of energy supply and Africa has ample energy resources. Thus, both are poised to develop strategic partnership in future. In 2003, India helped to establish IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa) forum, which is fast emerging as a potential mechanism for South-South Cooperation.
India has shored up her foreign policy priorities in all parts of the world in the changing global condi¬tions. In a policy statement issued in 2007, the Prime Minister of India outlined India’s priorities in Africa. He emphasized that there is a need to share experience on effective strate¬gies for sustainable development, poverty alleviation, healthcare facili¬ties and universal education. There is also a need for more cooperation in agricultural research, water manage¬ment and food processing.
India-Africa Forum Summit
A new mechanism for high-level consultation between India and Africa is India-Africa Forum Summit. The first India-Africa Forum Summit was held in April in New Delhi. This was to some extent motivated by China’s increasing presence in Africa. China held similar Summit of African countries few years back with good response. Fourteen African Heads of State and the leaders of all eight African regional groupings participa¬ted in the first India-Africa Forum Summit. The Summit concluded with the adoption of the Africa-India Framework for Cooperation, which contained measures to elevate the scope of Indian-African partnership of mutual benefit. The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, announ¬ced a ‘Duty Free Tariff Preference Scheme’. Under this scheme, India will unilaterally provide preferential market access for exports from the Least Developed Countries, including 34 LDCs of Africa. India also com¬mitted over $ 500 million in African development grants and announced to double India’s lines of credit to $ 5-4 billion to African countries by the year 2013.
Second India-Africa Forum Summit: May 2011
The Second India-Africa Summit was held in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia on May 24-25, 2011. The two day Summit advanced the pro¬cess of high level consultation initiated in 2008 for developing mutually beneficial partnership bet¬ween India and Africa. The Summits are to be held after every three years. The Second Summit produced two documents : the 32 point ‘Addis Ababa Declaration’ and the ‘Africa- India Framework for Enhanced Cooperation.’
Addis Ababa Declaration—The
main points of this Declaration are :
(a) It reiterated that the partner-ship between India and Africa shall be based on the principles of equality, mutual benefit and historical under-standing among peoples.
(b) It recognized the ongoing changes in Africa as a good platform for partnership and India’s contri¬bution in the development in Africa in recent years.
(c) On global affairs, it calls for the cooperation on common global challenges like climate change, Millennium Development Goals, South-South Cooperation, Doha round of trade negotiations, the reforms of the UN Security Council, fight against poverty and terrorism and universal, discriminatory and verifiable disarmament.
(d) They hoped that this Summit would help in realizing the vision of self reliant and economically vibrant India and Africa. The next Summit would be held in India in 2014.
Africa-India Framework for Enhanced Cooperation—It is a four year partnership programme between India and Africa. The programme identifies seven areas for enhanced cooperation between the two sides, as given below—
1. Economic cooperation with focus on agriculture development and small scale industries;
2. Political cooperation in the area of peace and security, good governance and human rights;
3. Cooperation in the field of science and technology, research and development;
4. Cooperation in the field of social development and capacity build¬ing;
5. Cooperation in health culture and sports;
6. Cooperation in the field of tourism and media; and
7. Cooperation in the fields of infra-, structure development, energy, and environmental protection.
The Framework for Enhanced Cooperation proposes to establish 21 capacity building institution in various countries of Africa.
B. Economic Partnership
The economic cooperation between India and Africa has long history and has expanded over the years in the post-cold war period. It has become diverse and covers all parts of the continent. It includes trade, investment bilateral and multi¬lateral development cooperation, human resource development pro¬grammes, credit lines and conces¬sions in debt and imports and so on.
1. Trade and Investment—There are three broad features of India’s trade and investment relations with different parts of Africa : increasing volumes of trade and investment both; state support for the private sector; and the increasingly diverse nature and profile of India’s state-led and private sector economic engage¬ments with Africa. It is estimated that trade between India and African nations grew from a value of $ 3-39 billion in 2000 to $ 30 billion for the year 2007. It was less than $ 1 billion in 1991, when India initiated her economic liberalization programme. The trade between the two sides was $ 36 billion in 2010 and has reached to $ 60 billion in 2012.
In order to boost trade volume, the high-level business conclaves are being organized by the Confederatibn of Indian Industry and the Export- Import Bank of India in association with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce, and the African Development Bank. At the first conclave in March 2005 the ‘India-Africa Project Partnership’ was launched and over $ 14 billion worth of projects discussed. These conclaves were repeated in Novem¬ber 2005, October 2006 and March 2008, 2009 and 2010. Many projects have been finalized in these con¬claves.
Indian investment in Africa has also grown and diversified in recent years. India investments are made by both the public sector and the private sector. India has recently adopted the policy of encouraging private sector investment. The Indian investment ranges from the small family firms and small and medium enterprises to the large-scale bids by Tata, Essar and Bharti Airtel and Mahindra.
2. Development Partnership—
After its South Asian neighbours, the African countries have traditionally been the second largest recipients of India’s development assistance and cooperation. The main instrument of this cooperation is the Indian Tech¬nical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme, which was launched in 1964. ITEC focuses on providing short training programmes in areas as diverse as small and medium-scale industries, rural credit programmes, food processing, textiles and women’s entrepreneurship; IT and computing skills. The scheme runs in 159 countries and majority of them are African countries. Indian government offers about 3000 place¬ments under this scheme, of which more than 1000 are offered to African governments. More than $ 1 billion funds have been channeled through ITEC so far and majority of it going to African countries. At present, India offers the assistance of ? 500 crore per year under this programme.
ITEC has six components, viz., Training (civilian and defence) in India of nominees from ITEC partner countries; Projects and project related activities such as feasibility studies and consultancy services; Deputation of Indian experts abroad; Study tours; Gifting /Donation of equipment; and Aid for Disaster Relief. The training programmes have contributed to capacity building and human resource development in many parts of the world.
In Africa, another Indian deve-lopment programme is the Special Commonwealth African Assistance Programme (SCAAP), which also offers project bound development assistance. This programme covers only Commonwealth countries of Africa. The notable feature of these programmes is not the colonial mentality of imposing the assistance. Instead, India asserts the claim of ‘partnership for mutual benefit.’ It is implemented as need based pro-gramme of African countries, assisted by India. Another facet of India’s development cooperation in Africa over the last few years has been the growing provision of concessional Lines of Credit, which are managed by India’s EXIM bank. So far India has provided $ 7642 million as Lines of Credit and majority of it is directed to African countries. India’s develop¬ment assistance also includes debt write-offs. India recently cancelled $ 24 million of debt from Mozam¬bique, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana and Zambia. China has also written off debts in Many African countries at much higher scale.
3. Capacity Building and Human Resource Development—The focus on skills and training in part reflects that human resource development is one of the priorities of India deve¬lopment assistance in Africa. India has earned huge goodwill in Africa because of her human resource development programmes. African leaders remark that though China is doing more in terms of trade and investment, India is doing better. But this role also reflects the expertise and high quality provision available in many Indian universities, training centres and institutes. India initiated the Pan-African e-Network in Africa in 2004. This scheme aims to provide facilities for tele-education, tele¬medicine and network video con¬ferencing for heads of state in all 53 members of the AU. The network will also connect 53 learning centres, ten superspecialty hospitals (three of which are in India), 53 other hospitals and five universities (two in India). In 2009, this programme has been exten¬ded to cover all 53 African countries. In these endeavours, India provides expertise in creating ‘knowledge eco¬nomies’ for sustainable development in Africa. India has also stepped up the production and supply of cheaper pharmaceuticals and ‘Triple a tech¬nology’ (affordable, available, adapt-able) that is better suited to African peoples than offered by western competitors. India is now focusing on the small scale industries develop¬ment programme, which involves schemes of skill development also.
C. Cultural Cooperation
Both India and Africa share long cultural contacts. In the modern history, Gandhi’s stay in South Africa provided an important link between the two. Besides, the India Diaspora in African countries has contributed to the growth and development of Africa and earned goodwill. India’s cultural objects like dance, drama films are very popular in African countries. Indian films are very popular in East African countries. India has been providing a large number of educational scholarships to African students for study in India. At present, both continue to maintain regular cultural exchanges at various levels. The Indian council for cultural
relations organises may cultural exchange programmes to promote better understanding between the people of India and Africa. As a push to her public diplomacy, India has opened cultural centers in some African countries. India enjoys huge cultural attraction and soft power advantage in Africa.
Challenges and Opportunities—
Africa constitutes 14 per cent of the global population, but its share in global trade is just 2-5 per cent. Africa also suffers from poverty, lack of infrastructure and technology, food insecurity and social and political conflicts. India has been a political, cultural and economic partner of Africa since the days of colonialism. India’s ongoing development co¬operation in Africa assumes signi¬ficance in view of the above facts. Africa is also rich in energy resources. It suits in India’s search for energy security. At present India imports 75 per cents of her energy requirements. India’s present focus on energy sector in Africa may’ be viewed in this background. On the other hand Africa needs India’s development assistance to face the challenges of globalized world. African countries as members of African Union place focus on the economic integration of
Africa. They emphasize on the African-owned and African-managed development process. India can be a useful development partner of Africa in this regard. African Union’s Golden Jubilee Summit was held at Addis Ababa on May 19-27, 2013, where India was represented by its Vice-President Hamid Ansari. In his address, Ansari cited India’s role in the elimination of colonialism and apartheid in Africa in past years. India’s role at present in the human resource development in African countries is well appreciated by all.
Again, Africa contributes largest numbers of members in the UN. It may help India in her support for her claim for permanent membership to Security Council. However, India is facing challenges from the other actors in Africa, particularly China. In recent years, China has also stepped up its presence in various economic areas like trade, investment in Africa. In comparison to the volume of operation, China is much ahead of India. However, India’s engagements enjoy edge in the area of human resource development. India has to assess the development requirement of African countries and employ a country specific approach to develop a meaningful development partner¬ship with African countries.