The third India-Africa Forum Summit was held in the Indian capital of New Delhi from October 26 to October 30, with presidents, ministers and delegates from all African countries participating.
The summit was the largest diplomatic event to be held in India since the 1983 Nonaligned Movement Summit, in which, around 100 leaders were welcomed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The summit will also be remembered as one of the largest gatherings of African leaders abroad.
The third India-Africa summit was organized by the New Delhi administration, in order to boost the Indian economy. At the summit, India searched for new markets and resources to compete against its Asian rivals -China and Japan-.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "We are going to have very important decisions which will give both India and Africa a new sense of self confidence, our relations are going to become closer and deeper."
Modi on the third day of the summit had a record 19 meetings with African leaders, including Muhammadu Buhari, the president of Nigeria.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and a key oil-rich country for India’s energy investments.
Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Carlos Lopes, had important comments about business and trade between India and Africa.
He said, “Just last year, the continent benefited from $2 billion worth of India’s development partnership assistance, with the largest beneficiaries being Ethiopia, Senegal and the Republic of Congo."
"India has gone further to offer lines of credit worth 7.4 billion USD with the biggest recipients being power and engineering sectors.”
“Africans have also benefited from 25,000 scholarships as a direct impact of the second India Africa Summit and today the number of African students attending Indian tertiary institutions exceeds 6,000.” Lopes added.
Lopes emphasized that just last year, 25 percent of India’s total pharmaceutical exports were shipped to Africa.
“Imagine the windfalls that could be made by investing in local pharmaceutical training, production and drug manufacturing,” he said.
He added that this could be the start of a sustainable progress for Africa’s health systems and could also revive economic activities and increase investment.
Lopes pointed out that 26 percent of the foreign direct investment stocks in India comes from Africa and amounts to $65 billion.
“This share of foreign direct investment stocks was larger than those received by Brazil, China, the Russian Federation or the USA,” he said.
Why Indian focus on Africa?
Africa is the second largest and second most populous continent on earth and has an estimated population of about 1.17 billion people.
Its population is estimated to rise over 2 billion by 2050, representing 25 percent of the global population.
According to the World Bank, Africa has the youngest population in the world with almost 200 million people aged between 15 and 24, this number is estimated to double by 2045.
Between 2000 and 2008, Africa’s working age population (15-64 years) reached from 443 million to 550 million, nearly an increase of 25 percent. If this process continues, the continent’s labour force will be nearly 1 billion in 2040, making it the largest in the world.
Tanzania, one of the fastest growing countries in Africa, saw its youth population almost double from 4.4 million in 1990 to 8.1 million in 2010.
It is expected to reach 11 million by 2020 and 15 million by 2030.
Young people represented 28 percent of the labour force in 2010, this is a big number compared to developed countries.
The youth unemployment rate in the country decreased from 8.7 percent in 2000/01 to 4.7 percent in 2010/11. Tanzania, like most other sub-Saharan countries, did not face youth unemployment crisis, like many European countries.
While youth unemployment rate in Tanzania was 4.7 percent in the 2010/11 period, it had reached 44.4 percent in Greece and 46.4 percent in Spain during the same period.
Also as African population is rapidly increasing, India is anticipated to be most the most populous country by 2050 with an estimated 1.6 billion people, surpassing China.
Since the 2000's, all across Africa there has been significant progress being made on improving political and economic governance, as well as increasing domestic resource mobilisation, following civil wars, genocides, army coups, poverty and starvation in the 1990's.
During 2001/10, six sub-Saharan African countries were ranked in the world’s ten fastest growing economies.
Four of the ten fastest growing economies in 2014 were also African.
Also in 2015, according to World Bank's Global Economic Prospects, six African countries ranked in the 13 fastest-growing countries in the world.
Total average gross domestic product (GDP) of African countries is $2.8 trillion and growing by nearly 5 percent every year.
GDP growth reached 3.9 percent in 2014, then 4.5 percent in 2015 and is expected to reach 5 percent in 2016.
According to the OECD report, private capital flows to the continent almost doubled in the last ten years and was estimated to be $67 billion in 2014.
Additionally, Modi has asked for support from African nations to change the 'unfair' system of being a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
India and Africa -together are home to a third of the world's population- but neither India nor any African country has a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.