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India’s engagement with Africa


  • GS Mains Paper-2, International Relations

Why in news?

  • Ahead of BRICS leaders’ summit in South Africa, Indian PM made visits to Rwanda and Uganda.
  • This is a reflection of the intensity and significance of India’s engagement with Africa.

What is the significance?

  • Rwanda is one of the Africa’s fastest growing economies.
  • After the end of its civil war, it is moving steadily on the path of recovery and national reconciliation.
  • Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame is chair of the African Union (an intergovernmental organization of African states).
  • About 3,000 Indian nationals and PIOs live in Rwanda.
  • Rwanda’s only sugar refinery, only modern textile mill, and a soap and cosmetic factory are all PIO-owned.
  • India-Rwanda bilateral relations have been cordial and have grown steadily over the years.
  • In 1999, Rwanda officially opened its mission in New Delhi and posted a charge d’affaires.
  • In 2001, it appointed its first resident ambassador in New Delhi.
  • India has taken a decision to open a diplomatic mission in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.
  • Uganda – In Uganda, India established its diplomatic presence in 1965.
  • But the ties dates back to the era when trade began across the Indian Ocean.
  • Eventually a number of Indians settled in East Africa, and many made Uganda their home.
  • There are over 30,000 Indians/PIOs in the country.
  • Uganda is currently chair of the East African Community.
  • India – Africa – The visit of more than 40 leaders for the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit in 2015 was a significant event in this regard.
  • The present visit to African countries takes forward India’s engagement with Africa.

What are the outcomes of the visit?

  • India signed two loan agreements with Rwanda worth $ 100 million each.
  • It contributes for investments in agriculture and development of special economic zones.
  • With both Rwanda and Uganda, India signed defense cooperation agreements.

What role does China play?

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping is also making visits to some of the African States, including Rwanda.
  • China gave a loan of $126 million to build two roads.
  • China began its outreach to Africa earlier than India.
  • The first ministerial meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was held early in 2000.
  • Africa, in many ways, has been a learning ground for China’s international role.
  • China first took a proactive position on an internationally significant Sudan conflict
  • It was in Mali that China sent its first combatant unit under the UN peacekeeping framework in 2013
  • Djibouti will be the first location of the People’s Liberation Army’s overseas base
  • China’s role in the African continent is thus noteworthy as it showcases the future of Chinese power

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