An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Africa: The Next Frontier for China and India

Africa is the final frontier.  I somehow feel that India has a huge headstart given that Indians are already well-enconsed within that continent and a huge trade goes on.  But Chinese are very diligent when it comes to forging ties in Business.

I was reading Tom Friedman’s article the other day as to how should the Latin American countries look at economic growth.  He cited a “Chinese Model” and an “Indian Model”.  Since China’s main concentration is on manufacturing, its hunger is for the cheap and abundant raw materials from Africa.  India, on the other hand, according to him has invested and concentrated – not so much on infrastructure and manufacturing – on Human Development as developing  its citizens so more people are better educated.  I am not sure how much of that claim is correct (I believe China has a better literacy ratio than India).. but given the off-shoring of intellectually oriented work to India – so it is not surprising that perceptions are on those lines.

Observers will watch Dr Singh’s visit to Africa keenly as the region is considered the hottest emerging economy after Asia.

In April, Chinese President Hu Jintao had highly successful and a much talked about tour of Morocco, Nigeria and Kenya. He even addressed the Nigerian Assembly. China’s presence in Africa is growing so wide and deep that in his speech in the Nigerian Assembly, he had to convince the African people that China’s presence in the region was no threat for them.

 ‘China’s development will not bring a threat to anyone, but, instead, will only bring more opportunities and space for development to the world.’ China is eyeing Africa to whet its insatiable appetite for raw materials. This is making them the dominant power in sub-Saharan economies across the continent.

Against the imports of valuable and affordable African raw material, cheap Chinese goods have flowed into the markets of Sudan, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Angola. China’s trade with Africa is around $ 40 billion and increasing. In 2000 it was merely $10.6 billion.

Like China, India too has infinite opportunities in Africa.

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