When India and China Scramble for Africa, Who Wins?

Chinese foreman, African workers

By Jemima Pierre, Black Agenda Report editor and columnist
June 15, 2011China and Indian have both boosted their trade and investment in Africa in recent years, but “South-South” solidarity is not all it’s cracked up to be. The continent’s relationship with the Asian giants is lopsided. “Africa is quickly becoming the largest market for both countries to dump their cheap commodities.” Both countries are focused on “land and resource extraction, and new markets for manufactured products.”

“While both countries argue that their engagement with the continent is non-ideological and has no imperialist goals, the new relations of trade look much like the old.”

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s attendance at the Second Africa-India Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this past May marked his fourth visit to the continent in his eight years in office. For Singh, such summits are designed to “respond to the needs and priorities of Africa and for India.” The relationship between Africa and India is one “based on equality, mutual trust and a consultative and transparent approach,” he continued. “It is a living embodiment of South-South cooperation.” For the Indian state, it also signifies the triumphant success of its “bilateral” relationship with Africa, one that has granted lucrative access to Africa’s vast resources while cultivating influence with Africa’s political elite. Other Indian and international commentators, however, hail these summits as India’s challenge [4] to China’s oversized [5] role on the continent. Meanwhile, the ever-compromised African Union seem to follow Robert Mugabe’s assertion [6] that Africa has “turned east, where the sun rises, and given [its] back to the west, where the sun sets.” Continue reading

India starts trade talks with African countries in effort to rival China

The Indian prime minister arrives in Ethiopia to bolster economic and political links in a new ‘scramble for Africa’

India's prime minister, Manmohan Singh, is trumpeting cultural links with Africa in an attempt to emerge from China's shadow. Photograph: Raveendran/AFP/Getty Images

David Smith in Johannesburg

guardian.co.uk, Monday 23 May 2011

India‘s prime minister and dozens of business leaders began trade talks in Ethiopia on Monday as the Asian giant strives to catch up with China in what has been dubbed “the new scramble for Africa“.

Manmohan Singh received a red-carpet welcome as he led a delegation to the India-Africa summit in Addis Ababa, aiming to trumpet historical and cultural links with the continent in an effort to emerge from Beijing’s shadow.

“The India-Africa partnership rests on three pillars of capacity building and skill transfer, trade and infrastructure development,” said Singh at the start of the six-day trip to Ethiopia and Tanzania. “Africa is emerging as a new growth pole of the world, while India is on a path of sustained and rapid economic development.” The trade meeting is to be attended by 15 African leaders. On its fringes was an India show comprising business seminars, cultural projects and a trade exhibition. Continue reading