How does India see its place in the economic space of rising natural resource rich Africa?
An alliance between a nation with a billion people, with increasing demand and in need of resources, and an underdeveloped continent that is rich in natural resources would be mutually beneficially to all concerned. This is basic premise on which the relations between Africa and India have evolved. For a resource-strapped nation like India, an entire continent in the nascent stages of development like Africa holds out innumerable possibilities.
While China may be Africa’s largest trading partner, India occupied a respectable 14.1% share in Africa’s overall foreign trade as of 2011. Of this share, a whopping 66% of the bilateral trade is only of mineral fuel and lubricants and 7.3% being crude material excluding food and fuels. Hence, it can be observed that even the bilateral trade is dominated by trade of natural resources like fuels, minerals etc.
While China has used its economic might and infrastructural capabilities to make forays into Africa, India has adopted an approach that emphasizes India’s considerable soft power and its business expertise to make inroads into Africa and fight off competition from China and other emerging economies. Through diversification of trade opportunities, deepening of diplomatic ties and increased cooperation and collaboration with African nations, India seeks to establish a firm presence in Africa that can bring prosperity to both Africa and India.