Insights Daily Debates, Day – 232: China and India are the new colonial powers in Africa

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Insights Daily Debates: Day – 232

28 June 2016


Today’s Topic

“China and India are the new colonial powers in Africa”


  • mohd osama

    It is not true, as on the one hand, India and China are importing huge energy resources from the African continent. On the other hand, India and China are investing in their infrastructural sectors.
    Examples can be international technical cooperation of India with Africa and Second example can be of China investing in railways in some Afrcan countries.

  • Sonia mehra

    Neither India nor China is a neo-colonial power
    My reasons:
    1. Though the pattern of trade resembles colonial age, none of these countries hold political power in africa.
    2. Any of the african countries is free not to supply rawmaterial to India and China. They are also free to determine the price, unlike the case with cotton farmers in India during the british colonization of India. The foreign exchange earned through export of raw materials is very crucial for Africa in poverty alleviation.
    3. India is concerned about the socio-economic development of africa, which is evident from USD 10 billion line of credit offered by India to Africa for 5 years.
    4. Indian generic drugs is playing a crucial role to fight HIV in Africa
    5. India has also announced 50000 scholarships to African students in India
    6. Delhi declaration announced during Afro-India Summit after extensive discussion with African partners is a joint vision not a unilateral decision of India.
    7. Lastly but most importantly India supports UNSC representation of African continent.

    So India and China are not colonizers. However there is a need to focus on developmental infrastructure in Africa through AIIB and NDB.

    • Anwar

      Very exhaustive and elaborative. India and China don’t want to only exploit Africa’s national resources. They want to be partners in Africa’s development. In fact in modern world order it’s not possible to colonize any country or region so easily….

    • prranav

      Agree with your ideas because their is no intention either from India or China to colonize Africa. It is more like a mutual cooperation between like minded pre-colonized states. The assistance and mutual cooperation of India and China to Africa is with an expectation of support in their foreign policies. So, this cooperation between Africa and Asian states looks like cooperation leading to unity against western developed nations.

    • KAutilYA

      Nice points about India…

  • vishnu

    Africa a major resource rich continet has gone through colonisation for many centuries for the exploitation of its resources.
    Recently India and China had announced multi billion dollar packages with the eyes on its resources as well as a major market for its produce but this can not be seen as colonialism re emerging in Africa. Africa needs investment in its infrastructure, health ,education to improve its HDI and poverty plaging it. The energy defficent countries like India and China can supplemt these needs with their investments in different fields which can lead to more exports and employment generation resulting in more youth moving away from drugs and other cartels to formal economy and can lead to political stabilisation and good governence which is required to bring in changes to deplorable living conditions in many countries in the continent.
    Eventhough the colonial powers and now India and China looked to Africa for the same reason but the outcome of the two will be entirely different. One lead to destruction while the other has the potential to recreate the continent

  • Ashish Upadhyay

    Looking from the sky it seems very true that india and china are becoming the colonial powers in African continent but observing from the ground gives another glimpse of trading partnership. The emerging economies like india and china are investing in Africa and importing raw materials from the continent without interfering in their regular political life. These countries are not doing the same thing as Africa felt before the independence. Many african countries favoring Chinese investment and development process because they feel that it is not the same treatment we have got. Now the question whether india and chiba are becoming colonial power as they import raw materials and natural resources has not a base. India and chiba are involved in developmental process and they are providing basic amenities to the natives of that continent. India through its ITEC & SCAAP programme is involved in africa and working for improvement of african citizens and for their welfare. So it is not correct to say that india and china are new colonial power.

  • aakash guglani

    Colonialism is the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically. I don’t think either of the two plan to do that. In a multi-polar world, every emerging power would like to make alliances. Africa is most isolated as well as under-developed. Both India and China are trying to get political favour in a well laid down procedure of foreign aid. In the new world order, any big power needs to have political influence over Africa. Both the countries are trying to play their respective roles. With massive investments in the region, both the countries are trying to win favours to support them at international forums. In post Cold-War era, the focus is not on exploiting the region per se but to make treaties which benefits the both parties. Africa will prosper with massive investments whereas these emerging powers would have influence, employment and a growing diaspora. With the ambition of becoming a major players on the decision table in new multi-polar world, both the countries are trying to make them be visible powers of the future. It is more of diplomacy than pure colonial mindsets.

  • shakeel ahmed

    Stupid kind of topic…. How can one think of colonialism of India and China over Africa in current century? Topic is worthless to say anything. 🙁

    • Anwar

      Shakeel Bhai, please go through the link. You will come to know the sense of the topic…..

      • shakeel ahmed

        Every article doesn’t consider good and worth or getting inspired. The fancy topic doesn’t yield concrete conclusion. Colonialism has entirely different meaning and sense of thought. It is backed by certain specific characteristics of trade and engagement with a particular goal to achieve in long term. It also involves a broad strategy of exploitation at the cost of others. Under the given trade mechanism of India and China with Africa, it is futile to think about colonialism. Just the present trade model (as discussed in article) doesn’t nudge to think about colonialism.

        • Anwar

          The article is in the sense of trade only…

          • shakeel ahmed

            Thats why I said that colonialism is not based only on trade but lots of perquisites are there. Articles published in even reputed journal cannot be 100% correct or convince all the people. 🙂

  • Vinod Meena

    Points in opposition – 1. Colonialism is a thing of the past. Earlier in the times of the 18th and 19th century, there was no concept of nation-states. There was only a ruling empire which was to protect itself from invading empires. Back then it was only kingdom specific regionalism. Hence, foreign kingdoms went onto to establish thier rule in far away lands either in the form of invaders as in the case of the American continent countries or disguise initially as mercantilists as in the case of Asian countries. They later became supreme masters of those lands and established themselves as colonialists in which the native inhabitants or rulers did not have any choice to reject anything be it in terms of crops/plantations, decisions on war & peace or socio-economic policies which would exclusively benefit the colonial masters only and leave the native lands badly impoverished.

    2. In today’s 21st century, no nation-state is not so unwise that they would forget their own history or their struggle for independence. Gone are the times when autocrats, kings and oligarchs ruled their lands and took decisions without any consultation or without thinking about the benefit of thier subjects. Maximum number of nation-states are having democratically elected governments be it Africa or anywhere else. These governments are wise enough to decide which countries should be allowed to invest in their lands and accordingly setup shop in favour of their citizens. Yes, there have been several instances where some or the other trade and security agreements have not gone in their favour but they do have an exit option as evident in the latest Brexit saga.

    3. India and China are both tough competitors when it comes to bidding for contracts on mining, engineering or social infrastructure in a resource rich Africa. Both these countries not only aim to winning contracts and completing them in but also alongside contribute to social engineering like donating developmental funds, observe cultural and academic exchange programs, enhance capacity building in the field of healthcare, clean energies, consumer goods, employment, peacekeeping and much more.

    Bottomline – Leaving aside few instances of anti-mining protests by local people against Chinese companies, both India and China are destined to contribute to the development and welfare of the African countries so that the entire continent can shine. Both the two countries are far from getting the ‘colonialist’ tag. Instead they should get a ‘Contributors’ tag for their efforts in building a better tommorrow for the African people.

  • Vickey

    China transcending on its manufacturing Industries and with aggressive foreign policies striving to be a new global giant. Whereas, India at the verse of transformation getting economically mightier each passing day. Though there are numerous of differences in both countries like in ways of govt functioning, decision making process and in other governance methodology but few things are common about both the nations like: both are energy deficit and need huge amount of oil and gas to fulfill their domestic requirements, both nations need new markets for selling industrial output, creation of new diplomatic ties. These factors have driven both India and China to explore new destinations i.e, Africa.

    Approaches of these two emerging Asian powers towards Africa are as follows:

    Economic Requirement: China has much bigger economic interest in Africa as compared to India. Its gigantic manufacturing industries need new market. With new push for One Belt One Road and financial assistance to African nation has strategic and economic benefits over India. India through Afro-India submits trying to synchronise its business interests.

    Energy Needs: Both China and India importing majority of their oil requirement in that sense role of Africa becomes imperative where hydrocarbon is present in ample amount but needs capital and technology for exploration. Various Indian and Chinese agencies are in the hydrocarbon exploration projects in various African countries.

    Strategic Needs: China needs support from African nation not only for creating of OBOR but also for its protection in future. On the other hand India has not shown any intention to be a part of OBOR taking it as a threat for its security and economy. Consequently, as counter measures India is increasing its military influence in country like Sychecelles.

    Political Needs: India making constructive effort for permanent seat in UN Security Council. Support of African Nation would make things easier for India.
    Both China and India have their own reasons and interests in Africa, though China is better place both economically and strategically than India. In view of all the fact it is necessary that both countries should play their independent role in Africa avoiding any conflict of interest. Rather than being two colonial powers prudence is that if both countries act as responsible sovereign nations giving utmost respect to the sovereignty of African nations.

  • kkfury

    Colonial exploitation in 21st century is more about economic exploitation/ deprivation. Both India and China are trying to extend control over Africa which still remains a closed continent. Broad summary is as follows:
    1) Chinese trade with the African nations is in the form of raw material imports and finished goods export. China is dumping finished goods in countries like Nigeria at below cost of production (locally)destroying local manufacturing
    2) Chinese government is exporting labour in the African nations at high income. Locals are on the other hand finding meager jobs
    3) Chinese support to Africans comes at cost. Chinese expect support at world forums like NSG, UN etc. Recently China supported Nigeria’s bid to join the NGS at Seoul (expecting reciprocation)
    Concluding, Chinese companies have tried to utilise resources from Africa at the cost of destroying local production and job opportunities. It is a predeccessor to a new form of colonialism with complete economic dependency. India on the other hand has been conservative. India has stationed marines/navy at Assumption Island (Seychelles) however due to lack of finances/ monies the country is still a long way to venture into Africa. However India policies are different from Chinese:
    1) India has supported the Least Developed Country framework proposed in WTO in December 2015. India already trades in services with many of these nations.
    2) Many of the Indian companies like Reliance and Bharti Airtel have acquired local firms like Zain Telecom. These firms are currently front runner in local development with dignity and mutual respect (unlike Chinese policies)
    3) Indo African Summit and India’s pledge to support the African nations’ representation at the Security Council speaks for the soft power of India
    Indian dreams are yet to be realised on the African continent, there fore it would be very nascent to comment on the exploitation levels to which Indian gov/ firms would pursue. However it would be correct to say that currently Indian government has been conservative on its African stance and has put in extra effort for the support of African nations both in terms of trade and international diplomacy.

  • Satyam Pal

    Just because pattern of trade between two asian countries and a continent resembles that of of colonial times, doesn’t make the asian nations-India & China colonial powers. Moreover, the economic and social backwardness in Africa is a result of long & brutal colonial rule; which has also degraded India & China and that is Africa, India, China and many other countries are termed as ‘third world’; perhaps carrying a spirit of commonality. The African nations are trying hard to come out of their problems and the Indian & Chinese investments are a tool of mutual benefit. There is no political and social intervention into the nations.

  • sumanth devarapalli

    Dear friends i want to suggest one more thing…..
    At first Europe has the all powers so it occupied physically and econimically all the continents……
    next America became the super power and its occupied most of the world continents economically…..
    and now this is the era of Asian countries who are ruling world continents,……
    like that the next era is going to the hands of Africa thats why most of the countries want to continue relations with Africa…….
    In that aspect India and China competing each other
    we should accept it

  • keshav jha

    Both india and China is competing each other to get control and access over huge resources/minerals in Africa. But they cann’t be called colonial power as they neither have any political control nor have any such agreement. There are few points, which states that India’s continuously trying to do betterment of african people while China is relatively focus more on their own benefit. here china can be called an invader with colonial mindset whereas taking concern of india’s role in africa, it is more a partner in building africa than a colonialist.
    1. GoI is providing scholarships to a no. of African people so that they can get better study.
    2. India tries to address issues and problems of their african counterpart on different platforms i.e. India-africa summit, Africa day, etc.
    3. India is providing subsidised generic medicines to fight diseasses in african nations.
    4. Several indian companies i.e. vedanta, IOC have several projects in africa, which helps is building infrastructure of african continent. However, on this front, india is back to china but African govt.s also agrees that india contribute more to a sustainable growth.
    5. Our new govt.’s look west and talk south policy talks more on india;s views to africa.

  • AZAAD parindey

    Colonialism means political,economic,social and psychological subjugation of a country for the development of mother country.Now if india and China are the new colonial powers in africa they both have to show the signs of colonialism in each of the above sectors.

    1.Economic Development asks for market access as well as raw materials.With respect to the economic development strategy of india and china,the latter is dependant on manufacturing sector which is more dependant on raw materials while the former has more of services-led growth saving it from the need of great resources.

    2.In political arena,india and china both do not have any locus standi.But as China have more responsibility as it is a UNSC permanent member,it also have to receive blame for the policy paralysis of UNSC,growth of terrorist organisations such as Boko Haram, etc.

    3.Socially,India and Indians have wider respect in Africa because of presence of Indian doctors,teachers and nurses helping the conflict prone people with much needed relief and goodwill.The racial attacks on Africans in India may prove counter to such goodwill generated in Africa.It is impossible for any country to colonize in this globally interconnected world because presence of competing interests.

    4.Geo-politically, the USA’s intervention in Libya can be considered as neo-colonialism at its peak but such actions have not be occurred with respect to india and China.
    India and its Generic pharma industry is helping africans for improving health,fight against TB,and coountless innumerable diseases.
    She is also helping in peace-building in Sudan and south sudan with the flag of peacekeeping forces under the aegis of United Nations.India is also the leader of developing countries in WTO with respect to food security,and trade.

    So it cannot be said that India and china are the new colonial powers in Africa.

  • Sukhvinder Singh

    I THINK neither india and china are the colonize power in africa because
    1) IN recent year due to economic development in AFRICA it will be new maarket for india and china product
    2) India has new development project in india like india provides the largest generic medicine in africa etc
    3)UN has largast UN peacekeeping MISSION in africa and INDIA has largest contributor in this mision and to promote piece all around the world