The proposed India-Japan Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) is being seen as a potential alternative to the One-Belt-One-Road (OBOR) initiative of China. How the former is different from later? What will be the practical difficulties faced by AAGC?
Asia-Africa Growth Corridor is the Indo-Japanese joint initiative which was launched in 2017. The idea behind the project is to revive ancient sea routes and creating new sea corridors which link African continent with India and countries of South Asia and South-East Asia. The prime focus of this project is on four areas as follows:
- Development and cooperation project
- Quality infrastructure and institutional connectivity
- Capacity and skill enhancement
- People-to-people partnerships.
Though China’s OBOR also intends to develop ties by reviving the ancient Silk Route, however, there are certain fundamental difference between OBOR & AAGC:
- One of the most crucial difference is the consultation of all stakeholders, in fact, one of the reasons cited by India regarding OBOR was that India was not consulted by China for OBOR.
- However, AAGC stresses on strong local ownership by many African countries of projects which are a component of AAGC.
- Apart from that OBOR envisages the development of a land corridor, AAGC focus on the development of sea corridors.
- Also, there is the difference in finance model, on one hand, OBOR is “government-funded model”, AAGC, on the other hand, would involve large participation from the private sectors of India, Japan, and African countries.
The journey of AAGC is not going to be easy specifically keeping OBOR in mind and there are certain challenges.
- First and foremost challenge is to beat China in terms of trade and investment in Africa will not be easy. Presently, China is Africa’s biggest trading partner and also its top source of export with trade value almost four times to that of India with Africa.
- Another challenge is the issue of political stability in Africa as many African nations are still struggling from colonial past and are therefore subject to political turmoil at any time.
AAGC can provide a platform for Asian and African economic integration. Asia Africa Growth Corridor will be instrumental for Indo-Pacific region as it can be growth multiplier and trust multiplier program for Asia Africa relations.