July 2021 \ News \ INDIA AND AFRICA
India’s quiet but deep economic inroads in Africa

India has quietly upped its game in Africa ...

By MahuaVenkatesh

India has quietly upped its game in Africa. While pundits have been busy analysing India’s involvement with China, US and other European countries, Indian public sector as well as private sector have been making deep inroads in Africa. So when India became Africa’s third largest trading partner, the news failed to grab eyeballs. “Every Indian company wanting to expand globally is looking at Africa as the land of a new set of opportunities,” Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of Confederation of Indian Industry said in an interview.

The recent visit of external affairs minister S Jaishankar to Kenya just highlighted the importance India is now attaching to Africa, notwithstanding the derailment in engagement between India and the African countries due to the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic. Several Indian companies such as ONGC Videsh, Tata Group, Bharti, Godrej Group, Mahindra & Mahindra, Escorts, Apollo, and Essar among others are already present in Africa. The Economist in a report published in April said “many Zambians, like people in many other developing countries, complain loudly and often about the Chinese firms that are big local investors. India is also a big commercial presence but no one bats an eyelid.”

“In central Lusaka a brand-new flyover flutters with the green, white and saffron of the Indian flag. Throughout the Zambian capital lorries produced by Tata Motors, part of the steel-to-tech Tata empire, are used for everything from construction to rubbish collection. Signs inside the vehicles instruct drivers in both English and Hindi. The lorries’ occupants phone each other over a mobile network run by Bharti Airtel, an Indian telecoms firm,” the report said.