Prime Minister Narendra Modi is meeting no less than
40 heads of state for bilateral talks.
It climaxes with President Pranab Mukherjee hosting a
grand banquet on 29 October.
What are they discussing?
Plenty. Basically, mutual cooperation.
But commerce is high on the agenda.
India’s trade with Africa has ballooned 20 times in the
last 15 years and currently stands at $70 billion. India’s
investments in Africa range between $30-35 billion.
India has extended concessional credit to Africa of $7.4
billion, and at least half is already disbursed for about
137 projects in 41 countries today.
What’s in for Africa?
Investment flows from India in agriculture,
infrastructure, telecoms and mining infrastructure and
equally important private investment in industrial units.
Africa wants to benefit from low-cost services,
especially in Information Technology, from India.
Africa also needs higher education and specialized
training from Indian institutes or Indian experts in Africa.
Africa can further boost its exports of crude oil and
mineral fuels, pearls and precious stones, unwrought gold or
semi-manufactured gold, iron and steel, inorganic chemicals,
edible fruits and nuts, fertilizers, ores and slag, salt and
sulphur, aluminum and soda ash, among other commodities.
At political level, Africa has shown interest in
countering terrorism, be it Boko Haram in West Africa or 'al
Shabab' in east Africa.
Maritime security in the Indian Ocean against piracy off
Somali coast is another priority.
What’s in for India?
Indian exports have an expanding market in Africa with a
big scope for further growth.
India exports mineral fuels, vehicles, pharmaceuticals,
cereals, electrical and electronic equipment, nuclear
reactors, iron and steel, plastic goods and books, among
Political mileage esp. for UN Security Council seat;
The African Union (AU) has not yet worked out its
strategy as nations are all tussling to get in.
India believes that India and Africa are not at odds on
UN membership and can work together.
But unless AU finalises its stand it is hard to predict
what can happen.
On multi-lateral for a like WTO, India hopes for greater
Underlying the summit’s agenda is to counter China’s
growing and enormous investments and influence in Africa.
China has overtaken the west in its stake in Africa and
India needs to counter this.
Another bonus will be the boost to the Indian Diaspora in
From struggle against colonialism to fighting racism,
Africa and India have been together for almost a century.
Indian traders have been moving to Africa before Biblical
times while modern migration started around1 70 years ago
when the British needed labour for their farms.
This summit will boost the morale of about two million
seven hundred thousand Indians settled in Africa, of which
1.2 m are in South Africa and 880,000 in Mauritius.
After taking over as the Prime Minister Modi visited two
African countries so far - Mauritius and Seychelles, out of
the 100 odd he has travelled to.