Focus on Africa, the heart of the Global South

Source– The post is based on the article “Focus on Africa, the heart of the Global South” published in The Hindu on 28th December 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Regional groupings and agreements affecting India interest

Relevance – India and Africa relationship in context of its increasing importance in global affairs

News– The article explains the dynamics of US and Chinese relations with Africa. It explains the opportunity for India to improve its relationship with Africa in the context of the G20 presidency.

What are the recent initiatives by the US to improve its relationship with Africa?

The second U.S.-Africa summit was held in Washington in the month of December this year. They discussed the political, security, and economic cooperation related issues.

Mr. Biden declared that African voices, leadership and innovation are critical to address the most pressing global challenges. It is needed to realise the vision of a free, open, prosperous and secure world. The U.S. is “all in on Africa and all in with Africa.”

Several important decisions were taken.

The U.S. announced its support for the AU to join the G20 as a permanent member. It announced full support for UNSC reform to include permanent representation for Africa.

A promise for the president and the vice president to visit Africa next year was made.

The U.S. announced new investments and initiatives. It includes $21 billion to the IMF  to provide funds for low-and middle-income countries, and $10 million to boost the security capacity of its African partners.

The administration indicated that it planned to invest $55 billion in Africa over the next three years.

What is the status of Chinese relationship with Africa?

China is the largest trading partner and the fourth largest investor in the African continent. It has emerged ahead of the U.S. through its steady diplomacy and extensive economic engagement.

In 2021, China-Africa bilateral trade was $254 billion. While the U.S.-Africa trade stood at $44.9 billion. The U.S. investment in Sub-Saharan Africa was $30.31 billion last year. In comparison, China’s total investment was $43.4 billion.

Forum on China-Africa Cooperation was established in October 2000. It is composed of ministers and leaders of Africa and China who meet once in three years. The Chinese president participates in deliberations in person or digitally.

China has a full-fledged inter-ministerial mechanism to ensure the timely implementation of FOCAC decisions. The last meeting expressed support for One-China Principle, the Global Development Initiative, the Belt and Road Initiative, and the vision of “a community with a shared future. These are part of the Chinese agenda.

The Chinese foreign minister visits annually to Africa.

What is the way forward for India to improve its relationship with Africa?

India’s equity in Africa is older and richer than that of China and the U.S. But it should not make India complacent.

The G20 presidency is an opportunity for India to ensure that the AU becomes a permanent member of this grouping and to firmly reflect Africa’s Agenda 2063 for development.

India and the U.S. should work closer together in Africa.

The fourth India-Africa Forum Summit should be held in early 2024.

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