The 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit is being touted as one of the biggest outreach initiative by Government of India and Prime Minister Modi to the build relations, bolster bilateral ties and harness trade avenues and opportunities with African governments ruling the resource rich continent.
Owing to the geographical proximity between the Horn of Africa and the Indian subcontinent, both have shared a healthy development as well as trade relationship since ancient times. With Afro-optimism uprising, the presence of delegates and leaders from 54 countries in New Delhi later this month from October 26th to 30th will instil a new vigour in the dynamic relations between the two growth poles of the world. Out of the 54 invitations, 51 African states have confirmed their participation where Indian Prime Minister will make a point to the international community by organizing the biggest ever diplomatic India-African spectacle.
The negotiations and discussions this month will lead to action plan and a declaration with leaders exploring and subsequently identifying special areas in institutional capacity building, education, project based development in health sector, agricultural productivity along with food security. With India on the cusp of second generation economic reforms to rewrite its growth story this time with great avenues and returns for all stakeholders, Africa too has been scripting its new chapter of economic resurgence which has led to drawing the attention of many new interested and emerging players to the continent.
Apart from the demographic dividend that both the Indian subcontinent and African countries share, there are a lot of similar issues which can be resolved by replicating the change Indian experience and learnings bring forth. Upscaling investments and trade can add to the economic muscle of both sides. With African economy led by agricultural development and limited industrialization, widespread urban poverty and unemployment marred with regional conflicts and poor governance, a strategic trade partnership and alliance with New Delhi can surely lead to a marked shift.
To begin with both stable and fragile countries in the African continent have to develop strong economic and political ties. This has to be focused not just within but beyond their boundaries with other rising powers in the region, if they are looking at reaching the vision they have dreamt of. A strong trade and economic partnership will open a new route to Asia where India has already been established as the economic powerhouse along with China. Secondly, in the context of growth for Africa, there has to be a shift from the raw material to manufactured goods, cheaper imported products, rise in the value scale leading to more job opportunities with effective labour intensive production.
Although, New Delhi is working at its own pace in Africa, it faces stiff competition from Beijing and in coming years trade, investment and aid against the backdrop of political and economies ties in the region will further garner the fate of this “Cape of good hope.”
New Delhi should start by utilizing the opportunities galore at the 3rd India-Africa Summit later this month where impressive policy making with favours from all 51 countries should be done in a way that the Chinese are given a run for their money.