Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Africa Roundup - August 2011

1. India is confident of reaching the trade target of $15b, by 2014, between India and South Africa. An India-South Africa joint CEO forums just concluded.

2. An Indian NASSCOM delegation is set to visit Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. NASSCOM is looking for a long term partnership with some of the African countries, and considers Kenyan government as being very supportive. Ghana is considered as the Gateway to West Africa and as the best in terms of investment in the region.

3. Rotary Club Chandigarh has been instrumental in providing free surgeries for some children from Malawi. Talking about Malawi, its President Bingu wa Mutharika is an alumni of Sri Ram College of Commerce. He studied economics in India, and calls himself 'Dilliwalla". There are many Africans who fondly recollect India's help. For example the Namibian High Commissioner said:
"India never forgets Africa's development. There is a very special bond between Africa and India and it should continue with the younger generations to really fulfill our dream. Like Mutharika, India also made us proud by recognizing our efforts every time,"
Shri M. Hamid Ansari, Vice President of India
meeting with H.E. Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika, 
President of Malawi in Malawi on January 07, 2010.

India ranks first, ahead of China, for Malawi's imports.However, Chinese immigrants into Malawi is high owing to their merchants and investments. India for its part, is second to China, and has extended $180 million in credit lines.

4. Kenya is expecting 20% increase in tourists in 2011, courtesy Indian and Chinese tourists.

5. Indian agribusiness is planning to spend $2.5 for leasing, renting or buying land in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda. As expected, UK and USA are not very comfortable in such "land grabs"; yet the West continues to invest or buy lands and other properties through out Latin America and Africa. Karturi the Rose Moghul from India, is looking for more land in Tanzania; and is planning to invest $500 million. His company currently owns lands in Ethiopia and Kenya. He wants to grow rice, wheat, sugarcane, palm for oil and flowers. It will help Tanzanian unemployment and poverty & food shortage. Ethiopia is concerned about Tanzania and Uganda gaining importance in the eyes of Indian investors. The Uganda President Yoweri Museveni is said to have personally shown interest in some of the projects. The three countries want to increase their export share to India; and have been wooing Indian investors. East Africa has 120 million hectares of arable land - India has almost the same size of arable land.
Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi

6. One one side we have SA and India cozying up, on another side China continues to wield the stick. Desmond Tutu invited Dalai Lama, for Tutu's 80th birthday celebrations. SA government refused visa to DL. No prizes for any guess that Panda was hovering around when the visa was rejected.

7. The Western hypocrisy continues. While tremendous pressure is applied on the Surat traders for their role in 'blood diamonds'; the West shows no interest in reducing the sales of arms and ammunition. It is said that out of every 11 diamonds that is cut and polished, 10 of them flow through Surat. As a tangent, if not for the Surat craftsmen, the Australian diamonds would have remained do kaudi diamonds onlee.

8. The tiny country Rwanda is gaining in all the investment flows from India. Avignam Group will soon start operations, it planning to bring in Indian investors in the areas of agribusiness, mining, logistics and packaging.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni

My read is that Africans are plenty pissed off at the Chinese immigration. China has been working in Africa for a long time now. India is playing catch-up. Many African leaders have a favorable opinion of India - past connections and shared history. Africans generally do not view Indians with the same animosity; however many farmers are pissed off by the "land-grab" of Indian companies. There is definitely some takleef. Africa stands to benefit and lose some. Cheaper good quality generic drugs from India, but cheaper goods from China and India throw local industries into problems, investments in infrastructure and capacity, better usage of arable lands, mining, energy ityadi. Here is an interesting comment, hopefully I am not copy+pasting an Indian's comment:
But US and British aid have not brought sustainable economic development to Malawi. What Malawi needs is infrastructure and trading partners, which India and China are providing. Western aid will keep us trapped where we are and very little of that aid actually trickles down to the villages. People in villages have remained a pathetic lot and yet we have received british and US aid 50 years. What Malawi needs is to be able to stand on her own feet and move its people out of poverty. What the US and British aid agencies don't tell you is that they need the aid industry to continue because it gives them jobs. Without aid the UN, IMF, WB and others will become almost useless. Always look at two sides of the coin.

Read more:Linky

People do take notice of what is happening: Linky

"Imagine if there were no China and India or Brazil at a time when Europe and the US are in difficulty. It would be a big recession because China and India and Brazil are picking up the slack.

However, it is not to say China and India have pushed away Europe and America. No way, the former Colonial and current Super Power continue to exert pressure and influence on Africa, it is just that China and India are making some hay when the Sun is shining. I would say good going. Nobody should dream that Europe and American influence can be thwarted overnight. Also, the World is big and the big powers - including India - can all have a piece of the giant masala dosai. India needs to stick to the basics - be humble never get arrogant; respect the local people and be fair as much as possible. In the long term true soft power comes from integrity, honesty, humbleness and being kind - be Dharmic. Humans are the same everywhere, they will remember the people who helped them when they sought help (unless an ideology prohibits them to express innate human emotions)

1. http://www.rttnews.com/Content/AllEconomicNews.aspx?Id=1702386&SM=1
2. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/ites/indian-business-delegation-to-tap-africas-it-market/articleshow/9796107.cms
3. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/08/25/bloomberg1376-LQH7GU6JTSE801-792IJ1T1SF40GFLN3046E1DF73.DTL
4. http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2011/aug/24/indian-agribusiness-land-east-africa
5. http://www.english.rfi.fr/asia-pacific/20110830-blood-diamonds
6. http://www.menafn.com/qn_news_story.asp?storyid={597f15c9-c4d8-4f5a-8d59-41753ba5cfb9}
7. http://www.menafn.com/qn_news_story.asp?storyid={c8a61d26-c412-4b0e-897f-0564c70224c2}
8. http://allafrica.com/stories/201108301141.html
9. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-18/karuturi-global-plans-500-million-investment-in-tanzania-food-production.html
10. http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=111620
11. http://www.maravipost.com/business-and-development/development/5634-china-india-emerge-as-malawis-top-most-partners-afdb.html
12. Many more....

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