India Exim Bank Report: India Top Defence Exporter in Africa

The report titled ‘Reinvigorating India’s Economic Engagements with Southern Africa’ was released on November 1 by the India Exim Bank at the event “CII-Exim Bank Regional Conclave on India-Southern Africa Growth Partnership” held in Johannesburg.

What are the key findings of the report?

  • India has emerged as the top defence exporter to Africa. It may fulfil the continent’s maritime, aerospace and defence needs in the future.
  • Mauritius, Mozambique and Seychelles are the top importers of Made-in-India arms between 2017 and 2021.
  • Within Africa, Mauritius accounted for 6.6 per cent of defence exports from India in 2017-2021. Mozambique accounted for 5 per cent and Seychelles accounted for 2.3 per cent of defence exports.
  • The report highlighted the important role played by India and 9 Indian Ocean littoral countries (IOLC) in Africa in enhancing maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The 9 IOLC are Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, and Tanzania.
  • The report recommended a shift from the current need-based approach and the focus on training, capacity building and humanitarian assistance.
  • Rather, it called for increasing cooperation in areas of aerospace, defence and maritime equipment and vessels to improve security and technological capability of Africa.
  • It also recommended accelerating India’s defence export target of 5 billion USD by 2025.
  • Currently, Indian military vehicle manufacturers like Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland are already playing a major role in the defence export to Africa.
  • Focusing on areas like indigenously-developed new age technologies in maritime segments, including unmanned underwater systems, unmanned aerial systems and drones, can boost defence exports further.
  • The report also recognized cyber security as another potential area for increasing ties with African countries.
  • With the increase in mobile smart device ownership and the popularity of social media, Africa is a major market for the adoption of new technologies. India currently has an advanced cyber security infrastructure, a dedicated National Cyber Security and a nodal agency CERT-In (Computer Emergency Response Team). This expertise and experience can be shared to the African countries to address cyber threats arising from increasing penetration of smart technologies.

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