Ties Between India and Africa Relations

  • There is a slow realisation that Africa, a continent, accounting for nearly 17% of the world’s population today and reaching 25% in 2050, needs to be studied closely.
  • It is so because India’s rise as a global player is inevitably linked to the kind of partnership it enjoys with Africa.

India – Africa relations

  • Since 2014, India-Africa relations have developed steadily but more progress is achievable.
  • The 20-member Africa Expert Group (AEG), established by the Vivekananda International Foundation, recently presented the VIF Report entitled ‘India-Africa Partnership: Achievements, Challenges and Roadmap 2023’.

About the report

  • Examines the transitions unfolding in Africa: demographic, economic, political and social.
  • Africa slowly heading toward regional integration: It is devoted to democracy, peace and progress, even as Ethiopia, Sudan, etc continue to fight insurgency, ethnic violence and terrorism.
  • Competition among external partners in Africa: China, Russia, US, EU, Japan, Türkiye & UAE are strengthening their relations with Africa to ensure market access, gain energy & mineral security, & political & economic influence.
  • Chinese hegemony: Armed with a robust policy since 2000 to become Africa’s biggest economic partner, China portrays its role as ‘the infrastructure developer’, ‘the resource provider’, and ‘the financier.’


On political and diplomatic cooperation

  • Restoring periodic leaders’ summits: Regular summits must happen through through the medium of the India-Africa Forum Summit; the last summit was in 2015.
  • Regular dialogue: A new annual strategic dialogue between the chairperson of the African Union (AU) and India’s External Affairs Minister should be launched in 2023.
  • Increasing Africa’s role in G20: Forging consensus among G-20 members on the AU’s entry into the G-20 as a full member.
  • A dedicated official: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) should have a secretary exclusively in charge of African affairs to further enhance the implementation and impact of the Africa policy.

On defence and security cooperation

  • Increasing the number of defence attachés deployed in Africa
  • Expanding dialogue on defence issues
  • Widening the footprint of maritime collaboration
  • Expand lines of credit to facilitate defence export
  • Increasing the number of defence training slots
  • Enhancing cooperation in counter-terrorism, cyber security and emerging technologies

On economic and development cooperation

  • India-Africa trade: The mutual trade touching $98 billion in FY22–23 is an encouraging development.
  • Increasing access to finance through the creation of an Africa Growth Fund (AGF).
  • A special package of measures to improve project exports and build up cooperation in the shipping domain.
  • A special focus on promoting trilateral cooperation and deepening science and technology cooperation.

On socio-cultural cooperation

  • Greater interaction between universities, think tanks, civil society and media organisations in India and select African countries.
  • Setting up a National Centre for African Studies
  • Awarding scholarships like Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) and Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) to Africans named after famous African figures.
  • Liberalising visa measures for African students who come to India for higher education – they should also be given work visas for short periods.

On implementing the ‘Roadmap 2030’

  • Close collaboration between the MEA and the National Security Council Secretariat under the joint leadership of the Secretary, Africa in the MEA, and a designated Deputy National Security Adviser.


  • Tax evasion issue: Even though India is said to have invested more than $50 billion in Africa – which is almost twice as much as China has done – the majority of that money is funneled through Mauritius and then used to avoid paying taxes when it is brought back to India.
  • Menial city-to-city connectivity between India and Africa: It is necessary to improve connectivity in order to strengthen people-to-people links, which are currently a vulnerable part of the expanding transcontinental relationship.
  • Colonization concerns: India has a responsibility to address the issues that are being raised by the people of Africa, who believe that investments made by Indian companies are equivalent to colonization. Examples include real estate transactions in Ethiopia.
  • Racial Attacks: India’s reputation has taken a significant hit as a result of recent acts of racism directed against African nationals. If nothing is done to address the issue, it has the potential to become a source of tension between India and Africa.
  • No primary focus on Africa in foreign policy: Although India’s foreign policy is currently focusing on Africa, the continent is not India’s primary concern.
  • Low potential of Indian cheque book diplomacy: India is unable to compete with either China or the United States. Under the auspices of the IAFS, a number of African nations, including some of the wealthier ones such as Nigeria, anticipate receiving gifts from India.
  • No direct soft power diplomacy: Although India made a significantly larger contribution than other countries to the Ebola relief effort, this fact was not highlighted. The assistance provided by India was delivered primarily through multilateral fora and on a piecemeal basis.
  • India’ s role in peacekeeping in Africa: Eighty percent of India’s peacekeepers are currently deployed in Africa, which also accounts for seventy percent of the total number of casualties. However, there is a growing amount of skepticism regarding the usefulness of these missions, as well as the advantages accruing to India as a result of its continued participation.

Significance of Africa-lndia Relations

  • The nations of Africa and India were formerly under the colonial rule of European nations.
  • The presence of indigenous people on the continent can be attributed to the transatlantic slave trade as well as the practice of indentured servitude.
  • Nelson Mandela had strong Indian connections and striking similarities with India’s Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Even before he was given the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, Nelson Mandela was honored with India’s highest honor, the Bharat Ratna, in 1990.

Prelims specific

African Union

  • It is a global organization that includes all 55 countries that are members of the African continent.
  • The Organization of African Unity (OAU) was succeeded by this on the day it was established, July 10, 2002, in Durban.
  • The Sirte Declaration was issued in 1999 by the Heads of State and Government of the OAU. In it, they called for the establishment of an African Union in order to speed up the process of integration across the African Continent.
  • Headquarters: Addis Ababa.

India Africa Forum Summit

  • An official platform for the African-Indian relations.
  • Held once every three years beginning from 2008.
  • India through the India- Africa Forum Summits (IAFS) has already forged ties with the 54 African states through the African Union (AU).

Pelindaba Treaty

  • Signed in 1996
  • Also known as the Treaty on the Establishment of a Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone in Africa
  • Aim: Preventing nuclear proliferation and preventing strategic minerals of Africa from being exported freely.