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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS : India’s G-20 opportunity for an African Renaissance

 

Source: The Hindu

 

  • Prelims: Current events of international importance, G20, Global south, BRICS, ECOWAS, etc.
  • Mains GS Paper II & III: Bilateral, regional and global grouping and agreements involving India or affecting India’s interests.

 

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • Africa is flagging its demands nowadays on multilateral fora such as BRICS, the G-20 and the United Nations General Assembly.
  • The 15th BRICS summit is the first in-person meet since 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa.

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INSIGHTS ON THE ISSUE

Context

G20:

  • The G20 is an informal group:19 countries and the European Union, with representatives of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
  • The G20 Presidency rotates annually: according to a system that ensures a regional balance over time.
  • For the selection of the presidency: 19 countries are divided into 5 groups, each having no more than 4 countries.
    • The presidency rotates between each group.
  • Every year the G20 selects a country from another group to be president.
    • India is in Group 2 which also has Russia, South Africa, and Turkey.
  • The G20 does not have a permanent secretariat or Headquarters.

BRICS:

        

Background of BRICS formation:

  • Jim O’Neil’s conception of BRIC, a grouping of four emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India, and China).
  • Two of its components joined hands with South Africa to form IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) in 2003.
  • China played a trump card, and bought South Africa into BRIC, thus turning it into BRICS.
    • IBSA has been unable to hold its summit since 2011.
    • BRICS has held 14 summits in the past 13 years.

 

Challenges and disruptors:

  • Existential challenges such as
    • misgovernance
    • unplanned development
    • the dominance of ruling tribes
  • New disruptors such as
    • the Islamic terror
    • inter-tribal scrimmage
    • changing climate
    • runaway food inflation
    • urbanization
    • Youth unemployment
  • Military interventions by France, the United States and Russia’s Wagner Group to curb the militancy have frequently become part of the problem.
    • keeping dictatorships in power to protect their economic interests, such as
      • uranium in Niger
      • gold in the Central African Republic
      • oil in Libya.
    • socio-political disorder: The past decade has seen the generals coming back in Egypt, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.
    • The armed forces in Libya and Sudan have split and are vying for supremacy.
      • Most military establishments in these countries are relatively weak and incapable of defeating the Islamists and tribalists
      • The top brass do not lack political ambitions.
    • When the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) recently threatened to act militarily against Niger’s junta
      • Member-States, Mali and Burkina Faso — both run by military governments — opposed the idea.
      • Similarly, Sudan’s warring generals have defied calls for a ceasefire.

 

International support:

  • China has been Africa’s largest trading partner and investor, but a slowing economy and trade have reduced its appetite for Africa’s commodities.
  • China’s Belt and Roads Initiative has raised the debts of some African countries to unsustainable levels
    • causing them to cede control of some of their assets to China.
  • Russia previously promoted the Wagner Group in Africa as a shortcut for security
    • But after the militia’s mutiny against the Kremlin and the death of its chief, the situation is unclear.
  • France, the United Kingdom and other colonial powers as well as the United States have continued to exploit mineral wealth in Africa
    • Their economic downturn has limited their outreach.
    • Europe’s main concern is limited to stopping illegal migration from African shores.

 

Developments around Africa:

  • The 15th BRICS summit took place in South Africa on August 23-24 with the theme “BRICS and Africa
  • The 18th G-20 Summit hosted by India where several issues of the “global south” with Africa as a focus would come up.
  • The annual session of the United Nations General Assembly would also get underway — once again the Black continent’s travails would prick the world’s conscience.

 

India’s ties:

  • India’s ties with Africa are deep, diverse and harmonious: They range from Mahatma Gandhi’s satyagraha against the apartheid to the UN peacekeeping role.
  • India-Africa trade reached $98 billion in 2022-23.
  • India’s investment and other socio-economic engagements with Africa remain robust, especially in such sectors as
    • education
    • health care
    • telecom, IT
    • appropriate technology
  • India was the fifth largest investor in Africa and has extended over $12 billion in concessional loans.
  • India has completed 197 projects and has provided 42,000 scholarships since 2015.
  • Approximately three million people of Indian origin live in Africa, many for centuries.
    • They are Africa’s largest non-native ethnicity.

 

Way Forward

  • India is well placed to leverage its comprehensive profile with Africa to help the continent either bilaterally or through these multilateral forums.
  • India’s hosting of the G-20 Summit will present it with a historic opportunity to up the ante.
    • It could consult like-minded G-20 partners and multilateral institutions for a comprehensive semi-permanent platform
    • To resolve the stalemated security and socio-economic situations in several parts of Africa.
  • India should deliver political stability and economic development by combining peacekeeping with socio-political institution building.
  • India can offer force multipliers such as targeted investments and transfer of relevant and appropriate Indian innovations, such as
    • JAM trinity (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile)
    • DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer)
    • UPI (Unified Payments Interface)
    • Aspirational Districts Programme.
  • By offering a more participative and less exploitative alternative, India can make the India-Africa ecosystem an exemplary win-win paradigm for the 21st century.

 

QUESTION FOR PRACTICE

The long sustained image of India as a leader of the oppressed and marginalized nations has disappeared on account of its new found role in the emerging global order.’ Elaborate(UPSC 2019) (200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)