AIR spotlight summary on Prime Minister’s visit to Tanzania and Kenya.
Prime Minister’s African nation visit includes Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya. The visit of Prime Minister comes close on the heels of the high level visit earlier by President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari.
Earlier visit of Vice president to Morocco and Tunisia covered North Africa. Later President’s visit to Ghana, Namibia and Ivory Coast covered West Africa. Now the Prime Minister’s visit covers South and East Africa. Through this our three topmost leaders have covered the whole of Africa.
It is projected that by 2020 the collective GDP of all African nations will be $2.6 trillion.
Strategic significance of Prime Minister’s visit
- The Prime Minister’s focus of the African tour is on deepening cooperation in areas of hydrocarbons, maritime security, trade and investment, agriculture and food. Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya are very important and all are littoral states. They had very close connection with India.
- India-Kenya ties have stood the test of time. Both our nations have had very strong people-to-people ties and both nations have successfully fought colonialism in the previous century.
- Mozambique was a Portuguese colony earlier. Till 1750 the country was managed from Goa. There are large numbers of Goans in Mozambique.
- Prime Minister addressed the Indian Diaspora at Nairobi. Terrorism and Global Warming are the two major global challenges faced by all the nations. No country is immune to the state of terrorism. Concerted action is required by the global community through UN frame work.
- India and Tanzania have agreed to deepen overall defense and security partnership, especially in the maritime domain.
- India had age old cultural, historic and civilization ties with Africa and around 16th century India’s indentured labor had come here and now they have all prospered and helped in the progress of these countries.
- India and Africa are neighbors which are connected by Indian Ocean. Maritime security, counter terrorism operation, utilization of the Blue Economy is the important element between India and Africa.
- There are opportunities for Indian private companies and Public sector entities to invest in Africa. India is interested in securing energy needs, renewable and non conventional sources of energy where Africa is rich in all these resources.
- Energy security is a significant element of our partnership with Africa. 25% of India’s total investment in Africa is in Mozambique that is $8 billion. Around 10% of total investment is in Tanzania that is $3 billion. These investments are in the field of Energy.
- India will grow and India will need Energy. Large numbers of countries of Africa are members of International Solar Alliance. Prime Minister also met ‘Solar Mamas’, a group of rural women solar engineers from Africa who have been trained under Government of India-supported programme to fabricate, install, use, repair and maintain solar lanterns and household solar lighting systems in their villages
Difference in India and China approach in Africa
- India is different from other large investors in Africa. China is considered to be exploitative in terms of exploitation of Natural resources and there is not much benefit to the local people of Africa.
- China has acquired land for agriculture which has got its own work force and this has not benefited Africa.
- India wants African nation to get equal benefits from India’s economic development in Africa. India wants a win-win situation for both the countries.
- There are concerns that India has been very slow on delivery. It makes promises and commitments, but it doesn’t have the wherewithal. There was a tangential comparison with china where china was able to deliver. India in the last 2 years has demonstrated through certain projects that now India will deliver on its promises.
- India is interested in improving the living standards of the common people. Whether it is energy, renewable energy, agriculture, food processing etc. The strength India has in terms of Human Resource Development, capacity building, education, health care and large numbers of African students are in India.
- $92 million line of credit that has been agreed to is for water distribution and purification systems. India has long term agreement with Mozambique for the purchase of pulses.