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India's rise in Africa

Authors

  • IAN TAYLOR

    1. Professor of International Relations and African Politics in the School of International Relations, University of St Andrews.
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    • I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their extremely helpful critiques. Any errors remain my own.


Abstract

India's rise in Africa has been largely overlooked, despite the important implications of the growing presence of Indian corporations and a rise in New Delhi's political ties with the continent. Not only are Indian actors providing much-needed investment and capital, but Indo-African connections represent a further important diversification of Africa's international relations, something which reflects a major development for the continent. Indian activity in Africa may be said to constitute a middle ground between China's profit-maximizing and largely statist approach and the much-resented intrusive conditionalities associated with western policies. It is evident that India's growing activity in Africa has the potential to help African companies become more efficient by exposing them to competition, new advances in technology and modern labour skills. African governments could potentially use the opportunity of an increased Indian corporate presence in Africa as sources of appropriate technology, skills and advice for economic development. However, if not handled correctly, any goodwill that India possesses in Africa will quickly be squandered and/or India will become just another actor in Africa. It is up to Africans to negotiate with Indian actors to ensure that the benefits accrued from Indo-African ties are evenly shared and that Indian interest in the continent, alongside that of others, may help to serve as a catalyst for economic revitalization. The key issue is how African leaders can seek to leverage newfound Indian investment and interest in Africa so that Africa's place in global trade networks becomes more proactive and beneficial to the continent's citizens.

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