By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury
Source: The Economic Times
New Delhi: India has planned a mega Africa push amid growing resentment against Chinese debt trap in the African continent with January 19 marked as the Africa Day at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit.
Rwandan president and African Union chair Paul Kagame, besides ministers from several African countries, will be present on the occasion with an objective to seek wider Indian presence in the continent. Various inter-African economic groupings, representing different geographical lobbies, will also attend the event, said people familiar with the development.
Almost 200 African businessmen have registered for the Africa Day meet in Gandhinagar to explore Gujarat and a wider Indian market. This is the first time that India announced an Africa Day in keeping with high-level engagements with the continent since the 2015 mega India-Africa summit.
Africa’s second biggest economy Morocco and emerging North African business hub of Tunisia will also be represented at the event.
Saddled under Chinese loans, many countries from western, eastern and southern Africa are looking at India for its goodwill and non-interfering approach to untangle themselves from the debt trap.
The move to increase Gujarat’s African connections began in 2017 when the African Development Bank (ADB) organised its annual meeting where India, Japan and many African nations resolved to create an Asia-Africa Growth Corridor. Gujarat has decades-old links with Africa with a strong Gujarati diaspora settled across Eastern Africa and contributing to local economies in a big way. The state exports to 51 of the 54 African countries, amounting to $19.6 million annually.
Sectors like healthcare, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and petrochemicals, textiles, renewable energy, agribusiness, gems and jewellery, mining and minerals, and aviation are some of the focus areas for the African delegations. African students studying in various Gujarat universities will also be in attendance at the Africa Day.