With Prime Minister Modi set to embarking on a four-nation tour in Africa, we recall the chat we had with Kapil Kapoor, Director of the African Development Bank, on the sidelines of The Gateway of India Dialogue, where he highlighted the kind of opportunities that have arisen in Africa to provide energy and food security.
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India now sees Africa as a promising market for Indian goods, services, and investments. This is evident in the government’s recent concerted focus on the India-Africa relationship—high profile visits by top leaders to African countries, a recasting of India’s development diplomacy, and an attempt to match action to past promises
India has hosted a plethora of India-Africa conferences, expressing commitment to deepen mutual cooperation. It is further expected that the president, vice president, and prime minister may visit Africa this year, to follow up actively. Indeed, a senior official predicts Africa will even become “the diplomatic flavour in 2016”. An analysis.
The third India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi concluded on 29 October 2015. It is time that India begins work towards elevating the partnership with Africa and move ahead from the lofty ideals and grand vision statements. A conscious effort to shift gears and pour in investment in Africa is the need of the hour.
The U.S. is urging India to alter its IPR regime, and the potential impact on prices in the pharmaceuticals sector is of concern to African countries that depend on India for low-cost generic medicines. The recent India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi sought to address this issue, but it will be a challenge for India to balance competing pressures.
Changes in how India plans to approach its relationship with Africa were evident at the recent India-Africa Forum Summit, including the wider representation of African countries, and Modi’s push to forge a united front with Africa at multilateral institutions on trade and other issues. But beyond these, gaps in the India-Africa alliance remain to be addressed.
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