[Model Answer QP2021 GS2] “If the last few decades were of Asia’s growth story, the next few are expected to be of Africa’s.” In the light of this statement, examine India’s influence in Africa in recent years.

The African continent has seen a notable upsurge in economic growth, demographic changes. However the socio-political transitions in the region makes India wary of investment in Africa.
India’s influence in Africa in recent years:
1. Economic Engagement: India has significantly increased its trade and investment with Africa. By the end of 2019, India-Africa trade was nearly USD 67 billion, making India Africa’s third-largest trading partner.

2. Development Cooperation: India has been providing development assistance to African countries through grants, concessional loans, and capacity building programs. The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) program, for example, offers training to thousands of African professionals every year.

3. Healthcare and Pharma: Indian companies and hospitals have also set up facilities in several African countries, and India has been offering telemedicine services and medical training.

4. Digital Innovation: The e-VidyaBharati and e-ArogyaBharati initiatives provide tele-education and tele-medicine services from India to African countries.

5. Security and Defense: India has been cooperating with African countries on maritime security, peacekeeping, defense training, and counter-terrorism. India has been one of the largest troop contributors to UN peacekeeping missions in Africa.

6. Cultural Diplomacy: India has been promoting cultural exchanges with Africa through Bollywood films, yoga, and Indian festivals. The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) offers scholarships to African students and organizes cultural events.
Challenges that encumber Africa
1. Military Coups: Democratic consolidation remains a challenge in many countries. Ex: Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, and Sudan saw military coups.

2. Civil wars: Many countries still struggle with conflict, terrorism, and political instability. Libya, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Northern Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Cameroon’s north-west and south-west regions are six African conflict hotbeds to watch in 2022.
Africa is undergoing significant economic growth and socio-political transitions, presenting both opportunities and challenges. The continent’s future trajectory will depend on how effectively it navigates these dynamics.

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