Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told the leaders from 15 African countries this week that India would offer $5 billion for the next three years. How does this compare with Chinese investment in Africa?
Johannesburg, South Africa
If it wasn’t already clear, India’s announcement of $5 billion in development deals in Africa should certainly put to rest any question of whether India is dedicated to doing business on the African continent over the long haul.
The pledge of development aid to African countries – essentially a fund to help African countries to meet their development goals – stands in stark contrast to Africa’s largest single trading partner, China.
While China trades large infrastructure projects (built mostly by Chinese labor) for access to African raw materials, India spends money on training Africans to develop their own countries. And while Indian countries certainly have come into Africa as investors, Indian diplomats are quick to stress that the relationship between India and African countries is more one of equal partners.
Speaking at India’s second Africa-India Forum, this year held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told the leaders from 15 African countries; “There is a new economic growth story emerging from Africa. Africa possesses all the prerequisites to become a major growth pole of the world…. We will offer $5 billion for the next three years under lines of credit to help Africa achieve its development goals.”
India and China vie for Africa
The rivalry between India and China for the attentions of Africa is reminiscent of the Scramble for Africa of the late 19th century, when European countries carved up the continent into colonies purely for the purpose of extracting resources.
The difference, of course, is one of approach, with India and China both pointing out their abhorrence for European-style colonialism, and their solidarity with African freedom movements.