A move to counter China?
The India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi has been described by some foreign policy experts as India’s move to checkmate China’s rising profile and influence on the African continent.
China is one of the largest investors in Africa, with a strong presence in Nigeria, Sudan, South Africa and Angola among others. In Ethiopia, for instance, the country’s $475m urban rail project is funded by China, which has also built many other projects, including the $200m African Union headquarters, as gift.
In the last 13 years, China has spent close to $100bn in aids and projects.
India, which is now engaged in silent rivalry with China in the area of economy and even defense, seems determined to cover lost grounds, hence the India-Africa Forum Summit, now in its third edition.
At the formal opening of the summit in Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made no pretensions about his country’s mission.
With 54 African countries represented at the summit (41 heads of state, or government are attending the summit), Mr Modi pledged to provide Africa with $10bn in soft loans over the next five years, and $600m in grant aid. The offer comes at a time when African growth has slowed as a result of China’s slowdown.
Meanwhile, Fu Xiaoqiang, a research fellow with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said that Western media has been trying to provoke relations between China and India by highlighting words like “challenge” and “catch-up.”
“The African market is huge, and there is no competition or contradictions between China and India in their roles in Africa,” Fu told the Global Times.
He said that China has an advantage in infrastructure construction, while India, based on historic ties, developed cooperation with Africa in culture, labor and information technology.
President Muhammadu Buhari (fourth left) with other presidents, Heads of State and leaders of delegations, at the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi, India yesterday.