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India-Africa ties

India’s rise as a global player is inevitably linked to the kind of partnership it enjoys with Africa. India-Africa ties..


The kind of partnership India enjoys with Africa inevitably links India’s rise as a global player to Africa.

India-Africa ties – Background

  • India enjoys historical, political, economic, and cultural connections with the African continent for a long back.
  • India’s links with the struggle for freedom and justice in South Africa date back to the period during which Mahatma Gandhi started his Satyagraha movement in South Africa.
  • India worked consistently to put the issue of apartheid on the agenda of the UN, NAM and other multilateral organisations. 

India-Africa ties – Current Status

  • India’s Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) has been a useful medium for promoting cooperation in the development of human resources.
  • In the past 15 years and especially since 2014, India-Africa relations have developed steadily but more progress is achievable.
  • In this context, the Africa Expert Group (AEG) – established by the Vivekananda International Foundation, presented the ‘India-Africa Partnership: Achievements, Challenges and Roadmap 2030’. 

Highlights of the India-Africa Partnership (Achievements, Challenges and Roadmap 2030)

  • Countries in Africa, such as Ethiopia and Sudan, are battling insurgency, ethnic violence, and terrorism, even as the continent slowly heads toward regional integration and remains devoted to democracy, peace, and progress.
  • Sharpening competition among external powers: Countries such as China, the US, Japan, Türkiye, and UAE are competing for strengthening their relations with Africa to ensure –
    • Market access,
    • Gain energy and mineral security, and
    • Increase political and economic influence.

Challenges for India

  • No clear Strategy/Vision
  • Africa is not the prime focus of India
  • Competing powers in Africa: For example, China enjoys consistent and robust relations with the continent since 2000 and is currently its biggest economic partner.
  • The role of China in Africa is recognized as ‘the infrastructure developer,’ ‘the resource provider,’ and ‘the financier.’

Recommendations to strengthen India-Africa ties

Political and diplomatic cooperation
  • Restoring periodic leaders’ summits through the medium of the India-Africa Forum Summit, which has not been held since 2015, should strengthen it.
  • In 2023, India should launch a new annual strategic dialogue between the chairperson of the African Union (AU) and India’s External Affairs Minister.
  • Forging consensus among G-20 members on the AU’s entry into the G-20 as a full member.
  • The MEA should have a secretary exclusively in charge of African affairs to further enhance the implementation and impact of the African policy. 
Defence and security cooperation
  • The government needs to increase the number of defence missions deployed in Africa, widen the footprint of maritime collaboration, and expand lines of credit to facilitate defence exports.
  • More can be done to enhance cooperation on security and defence issues like counter-terrorism, cyber security and emerging technologies.
Economic and development cooperation
  • India-Africa trade of $98 billion in FY22–23 can go up if access to finance through the creation of an Africa Growth Fund (AGF) is ensured.
  • A special package of measures –
    • To improve project exports and build up cooperation in the shipping domain has been suggested.
    • To promote trilateral cooperation and deepen S&T cooperation. 

Socio-cultural cooperation

  • Greater interaction between universities, think tanks, civil society, and media organizations in India and select African countries should increase it.
  • Setting up a National Centre for African Studies will be the right step.
  • We should name the scholarships awarded to Africans through ITEC and Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) after famous African figures.
  • Visa measures for African students should be liberalized, and they should also be granted work visas for short periods.

Way ahead

  • A special mechanism for implementing the ‘Roadmap 2030’.
  • Clear Strategy for African Development
  • Continue the current focus on capacity building
  • Harness Indian civil society organisations, NGOs, and the Indian diaspora
  • Promote development-friendly private investments
  • Timely completion of projects
  • Address concerns about the academic experience in India
  • Improve the experiences of Africans in India 


  • India must build partnerships with other countries along the lines of the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, which is an economic cooperation agreement between India, Japan, and multiple African countries, in order to cater to the needs of a large continent like Africa.
  • India has a substantive partnership with Africa and a rich fund of goodwill, but it is essential for New Delhi to review its Africa policy periodically and place a razor-like focus on its implementation.

FAQs About India-Africa ties

Q: What is the historical background of India-Africa ties?

India has historical, political, economic, and cultural connections with the African continent. The links date back to the period of Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha movement in South Africa, where India played a role in the struggle against apartheid.

Q: How has India-Africa relations developed in recent years?

India-Africa relations have developed steadily in the past 15 years, especially since 2014. However, there is still room for further progress and improvement.

Q: What are some of the achievements, challenges, and goals outlined in the ‘India-Africa Partnership: Achievements, Challenges and Roadmap 2030’?

The report highlights the transitions unfolding in Africa towards regional integration and democracy, as well as challenges such as competition among external powers. It recommends strengthening political and diplomatic cooperation, defense and security cooperation, economic and development cooperation, and socio-cultural cooperation.

Q: What are some of the challenges faced by India in its engagement with Africa?

Some challenges include the lack of a clear strategy or vision for Africa, competing powers in Africa (such as China), and Africa not being the prime focus of India.

Q: What are the recommendations to strengthen India-Africa ties?

The recommendations include restoring periodic leaders’ summits through the India-Africa Forum Summit, launching a new annual strategic dialogue, forging consensus on the African Union’s entry into the G-20, increasing defense and security cooperation, enhancing economic and development cooperation, and increasing socio-cultural cooperation.

Read also:- A crucial six months for India-U.S. Ties

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