India’s Affinity with Africa – A Question of Self Interest?

According to the International Energy Agency, India’s energy needs – fueled by 8% annual economic growth – are projected to double by the year 2030.  Moreover, India is expected to become the biggest net importer of oil by the year 2025, after the United States and China.   

In an attempt to secure energy resources for its buxom economy, India is courting resource-rich Africa with the long-term intent of ousting China’s influence in the region.  In fact, this upcoming April 8th and 9th, New Delhi will be hosting its first ever India-Africa heads of state meeting in the hopes of strengtening ties and heightening trade.  There is also, however, another prospect on the horizon:

But Africa offers more than just oil. Chalking up close to 6 percent economic growth in 2007, the continent could provide a ready-made market for Indian products, like Tata Motors’ ultra-cheap $2,500 Nano cars due to be launched in October.

In the words of Manmohan Singh, India’s interest in Africa extends beyond these factors as well (read more after the jump):

“The objective will not just be a quantitative increase in trade and investments, we will also aim at a qualitative enhancement of Africa’s economic competitiveness and technological capabilities.”

And so this brings us to another, seemingly unrelated collaborative venture between India and Africa – telemedicine.  According to an article in the NY Times, India launched a telemedicine project in Africa in July of last year, the aim of which is to link rural hospitals in Ethiopia with the Hyderabad-based Care Group of Hospitals, India’ s leading cardiac institutes. 

The scheme has been launched in connection with the pan-African e-network, a “5.42 billion rupee joint initiative between the African Union and India” which aims to “develop Africa’s information and communication technologies by eventually connecting all of the 53 African countries to a satellite and fiber-optic network.”  To date, approximately 100 patients in Africa have benefited from this scheme, which is currently in operation in 12 specialist hospitals in India.  Indian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Gurjit Singh, claims there is no connection between the talks and these projects, but why else would India invest in enhancing the healthcare system in another region when its own rural poor suffer from deplorable healthcare conditions? 

Stay tuned to ThinkChangeIndia for updates on the India-Africa heads of state meeting, as well as new developments on the trade/technology front between India and Africa.

2 Responses

  1. […] Relations: The India-Africa summit kicked off with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promising to ease access from the world’s Least […]

  2. […] Update from the Editors: This project has actually be reported on before by Prerna. You can read it here. What is new is the inclusion of an education […]

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