Facing Up to China: India's Economic Relations with Africa
Fantu Cheru (Leiden University)
Paper short abstract:
Even though it may appear that "India is sleep walking in Africa", and that the scope of its economic engagement is still a fraction of China's, New Delhi has awakened to the reality that Africa is a strategic priority.
Paper long abstract:
Econ20 India's aid and soft power in Africa (Panel) Facing Up to China: India's evolving policy towards Africa; Insights from India's Engagement in Ethiopia Professor Fantu Cheru (Emeritus) Senior Researcher, African Studies Centre Leiden University Even though it may appear that "India is sleep walking in Africa", and that the scope of its economic engagement is still a fraction of China's, New Delhi has awakened to the reality that Africa is a strategic priority in its global commercial expansion. While India's Africa policy appears to be different from that of China's, when stripped of its rhetoric, it is hard to ignore the similarities that underpin the Africa strategies of India and China, namely the demand for resource security, trade and investment in a highly competitive globalized economy. The nuances of its political and economic engagement suggest that, like China, there are inherent risks to the relationship. This paper brings to the fore these inherent tensions by drawing empirical evidence from Ethiopia, where both India and China are key development partners. One key distinctive factor between India and China is the role of the state in formulating and executing foreign economic policy proactively. China has the system of formulating and implementing decisions swiftly, whereas Indian decision-making must go a lengthy democratic process which at times proves slow to exploit a favorable external situation for its own benefit. While sticking to its democratic tradition, India must find a new way of making decisions proactively in order to effectively faceup to China's influence in Africa.
India's aid and soft power in Africa: connections and connectivities