India and Africa: Forging a Strategic Partnership

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    Syllabus: GS 2/IR

    • Present circumstances call for a new chapter in India-Africa relations.
    • India and Africa have a time-honoured partnership based on shared values and the country enjoys considerable goodwill within Africa. 
    • India’s trade with Africa has grown from US$ 68.5 billion in 2011-12 to US$ 90.5 billion in 2022-23 and Indian investors have also expanded their footprint in Africa. 
    • India is now one of the top five investors in Africa .
    • India and Africa have made effective contributions to protect the interests of developing countries at international fora, particularly the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
      • They moved joint proposals such as the Agriculture Framework Proposal and India and South Africa proposed an intellectual property right waiver for COVID-19 vaccines at the WTO.
    • India used its G20 presidency to solidify its position as the leader of the Global South.
      • The African Union became a full member of the G-20
    • Indian investments in Africa reached $98 billion in 2023, with trade totalling $100 billion. 
    • Indian social enterprises and NGOs are exporting low-cost, scalable solutions, from eco-friendly houses to rural women solar engineers.
    • Africa’s significant growth rate of 3.8 per cent and its young population, with 60 per cent under the age of 25, estimated to reach 1.1 billion people by 2040.
    •  Global forums:  Africa’s influence in global forums will be important for India’s vision for global governance.
      •  As the Global South houses three-fourths of humanity and over 39 per cent of the global GDP. 
    • Cooperation in the critical minerals sector:  Africa, with 30 percent of the world’s mineral reserves, is vital to power the energy transition.
      • To build solar panels and batteries necessary for a low-carbon future, access to minerals classified as “critical”, “transition” or “green” is key. 
      •  Given the geographical concentration of critical minerals, diversifying sources and fostering strategic partnerships with resource-rich nations are imperative for India’s growth and national security.
    • The twin shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia conflict have dealt heavy blows to African economies and much of the continent is currently reeling under debt distress and food insecurity.
    • China has emerged as one of largest trading partners and one of largest investors in the African continent through its steady diplomacy and extensive economic engagement.
    • The inordinate delay in the fourth India-Africa Forum Summit, after three consecutive summits in 2008 (New Delhi), 2011 (Addis Ababa), and 2015 (New Delhi), does not bode well for the partnership.
    • In this era of geopolitical competition and realignment, India’s multifaceted relationship with African nations is poised for a fundamental transformation.
      • As India’s aspirations for the Global South take shape, leveraging historical partnerships with African countries remains imperative. 
    • India should actively engage with the AU to hold the India-Africa Forum Summit as soon as possible.
      • The India-Africa Forum Summit should build on the gains made at the G20 summit and spell out the agenda for the future. 
    • Africa’s food security and agricultural transformation should be one of the top priorities for India-Africa engagement in the coming years.
    • Given India’s longstanding commitment to education and capacity building in Africa, New Delhi could revamp existing collaborations or establish new ones with African technical organisations.
      • This endeavour would bolster negotiation skills, training in project management, and devising industry-specific technical courses.
    • Indian research institutes engaging with Africa’s research community can facilitate the creation of solutions to address Global South challenges.
    Mains Practice Question 
    [Q] The most visible aspect of India’s cooperation with the Global South is its engagement with Africa.Discuss