Africa Arrives….. India, China & USA woo the dark continent
India, China and the United States are perhaps the leaders in world trade today attracting both inbound and outbound foreign investments. And the race has just begun for them to woo the Dark Continent – A F R I C A.
The 2015 end Calendar from October 24 to December 31 and January 2016 are mighty busy for the three nations as India hosts first the Africa Summit from October 24 to 29, China holds it version of Africa Summit in December first week at Johannesburg in South Africa and USA an investment oriented Africa Summit in the 3rd week the New Year at Washington.
All the three mighty nations India, China and USA are going all out to placate the African countries with political, diplomatic and commercial deals but USA and China seem to have a a better edge as India focuses on the diplomatic and political front where it has better leverage. For India Western Africa is most important as it’s the most happening place with Oil being struck there. Hitherto it has been only Nigeria for oil but Mozambique now comes on the oil map of the world.
First, India will host its largest diplomatic outreach programme with Africa from October 26, inviting leaders of all 54 States in the region, 10 months after it had cancelled the event due to Ebola scare.The five day-long third “India-Africa Summit” is expected to be attended by nearly 1000 delegates including heads of government, ministers, government officials, business leaders and others.
While the meeting between the heads of the government and states will take place on October 29, it will be preceded by three rounds of interactions between the ministers and the senior officials.On October 30, bilateral meetings are being scheduled, Says NavtejSarna, Secretary (West). Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
Invitations have been sent out at three levels – head of the government, foreign minister and senior officials- and responses are awaited. The summit was actually scheduled to take place in December 2014, but was cancelled due to Ebola outbreak in that continent.With the government expecting a huge number of delegates for the summit, it was logistically difficult, given the public health guidelines to manage.
India Africa Forum Summit
The India–Africa Forum Summit is the official platform for Indo Africa relations. It was first held from April 4 to April 8, 2008 in New Delhi, India. It was the first such meeting between the heads of state and government of India and 14 countries of Africa chosen by the African Union. Libya and Egypt’s heads of state however did not attend.
Why is India going all out to woo Africa? This is because China has already made aggressive inroads into many of the African states especially Western Africa. Chinese companies are building roads, highways, ports, hospitals and virtually everything in the infrastructure sector the continent needs badly. It appears India missed the bus despite its long standing relationship with this Dark Continent starting from the days of Jawaharlal Nehru when he roped in Gamel Abdul Nasser as one of the founding fathers of the nonaligned movement along with Joseph Braz Tito of Yugoslavia.
As the cold war era started to dissipate and even the nonaligned movement started to recede into the background especially in the context of the United States ruling a uni -polar world with the collapse of the mighty Soviet Union into smaller and fragments comprising the central Asian states. Africa has come into focus as destination for investments.
China rising as an economic power saw vast opportunities in Africa and marched in for building the continents infrastructure on a massive scale, even though India has been doing such projects for quite some time with some of the nations.
The Africa Summit is being organised in Delhi as a massive show of solidarity on the part of India to help all the 54 African countries. Five days of deliberations at official, ministerial, prime ministerial level and heads of states level are being scheduled by the officials of the government who are sparing no efforts to iron out any differences and getting aid, bilateral assistance, and project execution on the express highway.
Also Western Africa where Mozambique is located has struck oil and has invited oil companies globally to enter into production sharing agreements and in view of the long historical ties India enjoys with it, state run companies such as ONGC, OIL India and refiners such IOCL are making a bee line for a piece of the cake with National Oil Companies of Gulf States or USA.
China Africa Summit
As if not to be outdone or face a new threat, China is organising a China Africa summit in South Africa later this year, immediately after the India Africa summit. Chinese President Xi Jinping and his South African counterpart Jacob Zumavowed to make the event successful. .The two countries have announced that the sixth ministerial meeting of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation will be upgraded into a summit, scheduled on December 4-5 in South Africa at Johannesburg.
Heads of state of the two countries will invite African state leaders to the summit, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his South African counterpart Ms MaiteNkoana-Mashabanehad jointly announced.Xi said China-South Africa relations are in a period of opportunities as plans for bilateral cooperation in the coming five to ten years are being implemented. The 2015 “Year of China” events in South Africa further enhanced mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese and South African people.
South Africa highly values its friendship with China and is trying to achieve results in planned cooperation deals. The summit in Johannesburg would take place December 4 and 5 and would be preceded by a meeting of senior officials on December 2. A sixth ministerial meeting of FOCAC would take place the following day.
“South Africa looks forward to President Xi Jinping’s participation in this historic event. The Summit will further consolidate the partnership between Africa and China through South-South cooperation, giving special attention to industrialisation and the regional integration of economies in Africa,” according to Ms Nkoana-Mashabane, SA’s Foreign Minister.
The US – Africa Summit in January 2016
The United States, which held a historic US Africa Summit in 2014, will be holding a major event with Africa in January 2016, under the umbrella of Powering Africa Summit. The much hyped event will take place on January 26 to 29 in Washington. The summit going under the theme of “Transforming Africa’s Economies for Global Competitiveness” is scheduled to attract over 750 qualified global investors, including family offices, sovereign wealth funds, international DFIs, ultra-high net worth individuals and pension funds. The summit which will be a virtual who is who of the business community in USA and the leadership in Africa will focus on sectors such as power, agriculture, financial services, capital markets, oil and gas and critical infrastructure sectors.Some of the African leaders expected to attend this summit are John Dramani , President of Ghana, Paul Kagame, President, Rwanda, Peter Mutharika, President, Republic of Malawi, AugustinMatata- Ponyo, Prime Minister, Congo and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President, Liberia. Washington is expecting to showcase The Powering Africa: Summit as a platform for power, trade and infrastructure investment opportunities across the continent, engaging principle decision makers from the American and African public and private sectors to explore how project bankability can be increased.
US President Barack Obama’s Power Africa initiative has helped map the way for project investment, giving a platform to global investment funds and the role they can play in driving forward the development of Africa’s power sector.This year’s Summit will focus on the successes of the private sector including America’s private equity houses, sovereign wealth funds and America’s power house family wealth funds.
Following the recent announcement of The African Growth and Opportunity Act, giving sub-Saharan African nation’s duty-free access to U.S. markets for certain goods, trade relationships will also be an important focus at this year’s meeting. Representatives from the IFC, World Bank, AFDB and BRICS-New Development Bank will discuss successful case studies and the routes to increasing project bankability. In conclusion Africa is the hot spot for investments with China, India and USA in the race. While India has historical relations with the African continent, it would appear that both China and USA have a more crystallised agenda to boost their bilateral trade with the dark continent. India is perhaps more interested in deriving political and diplomatic mileage out of the Africa summit more than anything else, though Western Africa oil interests are upper most in its mind as in other sectors China and USA seem to have stolen a march.