African Safari: Can PM Modi outshine China?
India's relationship with Africa is expected to shift to the next gear with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first visit to the continent's mainland. The four-day tour to Africa includes a visit to countries such as Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya from July 7 to 11.
The first of the four-day Africa tour started with Mozambique where PM Modi signed several agreements between the two countries. Some of the major agreements were in terms of agriculture and food security. "We agreed to put cooperation in agriculture on the fast track. We are also strengthening our partnership in food security," said Modi.
There were three Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) signed between secretary of economic relations in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Amar Sinha and Minister of Finance of Mozambique.
Apart from this, PM Modi and President Filipe Nyusi witnessed the signing of agreements three agreements on reduction of drug trafficking and psychotropic substances and related materials, cooperation in the field of youth affairs and sports, and long term agreement for purchase of pulses.
Highlighting that Mozambique has already been one of the gateways for Indian investments into Africa, he said that India is confident under the leadership of President Nyusi, investments will continue to receive a nurturing environment in the country.
This shows the seriousness of India's economic outlook towards Africa and its renewed interest in the continent. A sudden interest from India has arisen for African nations in the last couple of months.
In the first week on June Vice President Hamid Ansari had visited Tunasia and Morocco. This was followed by President Pranab Mukherjee's tour of western and southern Africa in the second week of June.
The reason for this is the crucial role these African nations play to India's import and export environment. India's attention therefore has moved towards this instead of trying to compete with China for infrastructure projects.
For instance, Morocco and Tunisia play a crucial role in India's phosphate imports – a critical raw material for fertiliser production, according to a Gateway House report.
Most of deals done in Mozambique today too have been in the area of agro-based industries and food generation, like import of pulses which is critical staple for India.
Exim Bank, for example, is now likely to focus more on service exports, rather than compete with China for infrastructure projects in Africa, said the report.
India also looks to gain from service exports, which has been a strong point for India in Africa, in areas such as healthcare, education and information services.