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  • 29 June, 2022

  • 7 Min Read



Investment across the African continent has been increased by China throughout the last decade with special emphasis on raw materials. Recently China concluded “The China-horn of Africa peace, governance and development conference” in which for the first time China aims to play role in the area of security in the African continent.


  • The four major areas of China’s interest are natural resources, maritime interest, financial assistance and infrastructural projects and infrastructural investment.
  • China is also funding $200 million for the construction of the African Union’s headquarters in Addis Ababa
  • It has also made a significant investment in railway building, the Addis-Djibouti railway line connecting the land-locked country with Eritrean ports in the Red Sea.
  • With respect to financial assistance, Ethiopia is one of the top five African recipients of Chinese investment. China has also promised to provide $15.7 million in assistance to Eritrea.
  • China’s interest in Africa is due to the presence of natural resources like oil and coal. It has invested $400 million in the Mombasa oil terminal.
  • China is also interested in metallic minerals such as gold, iron ore, and precious stone along with chemicals, oil and natural gas in Ethiopia.
  • In maritime interest, China has its military base in Djibouti and is also willing to develop the Eritrea coast which would connect to China’s investment in landlocked Ethiopia.


  • India had promised a more inclusive and transparent development model for the African countries where empowerment of African nations is the aim whereas the Chinese investments end up in a debt trap and militarization of the region.
  • India had consistently supported anti-colonial and anti-racist liberation struggles in Africa
  • India and Africa’s economic relations are modest compared to China. India has numerous advantages including proximity, a common language, the popularity of Indian culture and the appeal of democracy

India’s Developmental Projects in Africa

India Africa trade grew from US$ 6.8 billion in 2003 to US$ 76.9 billion in 2018, and now Africa is India’s third-largest trading partner.

  • To promote South-South Cooperation India launched the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) in 1964, a programme to provide technical assistance through human resource development to African nations.
  • In 2003 India initiated the Concessional Line of Credit (LOC) based on the principle of mutual benefit which is demand-driven, to fund the construction of irrigation projects, railway lines, electrification, farm mechanization projects etc in African nations.
  • For instance India’s irrigation project in Senegal led to a six-fold increase in rice production and now the country’s 30% consumption is covered by domestic production.
  • The Pan African e-Network launched in 2009, helps to extend India’s IT expertise in the field of healthcare and education in 53 African countries. E-ArogyaBharti and E-Vidyabharti, the second phase of the programme provide tele-education to 4000 African students.
  • India also provides scholarships to African students for five years under the “Study in India” initiative and also aims to set up higher learning institutions in Africa.
  • India has pledged LoC worth US$ 2 billion to Africa over five years for the implementation of off-grid solar energy projects and is developing solar power systems across the Sahel region, which would provide electricity to approximately 300 million Africans who are currently off-grid.


  • India is not an attractive destination for the education of African students due to its poor quality of higher education. On the other hand, China is emerging as the second most favourable destination for education among African students after France.
  • India also has a poor track record when it comes to project delivery and implementation. There is a lack of clear strategy and synchronization between different development instruments.
  • India is also viewed to be slow in delivering on its development partnership commitment, especially in comparison to China.
  • Loc supports are mainly used to fund small individual development projects like roads, bridges, power transmission, water supply systems etc which although benefits the small African regions but fails to aid the larger developmental challenges like food insecurity, poverty, and health insecurity in African countries.

To make impactful developmental cooperation with Africa, especially after the pandemic where poverty, unemployment and hunger are on the rise, India must:

  • Prepare a clear and focused African strategy with timely completion of projects.
  • Harness the expertise and resources of Indian Civil society organizations, NGOs and Indian Diaspora to implement developmental projects in Africa at low costs, like Pratham and Barefoot Collage are playing an exceptional role in education in Africa.
  • India should also try to support private Indian companies making investments in developmental projects in Africa for mutual benefits.

Source: The Hindu

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