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Africa Trends Volume 1, Number 2
A Bimonthly Newsletter on Africa and the Indian Ocean Region
Keerthi S Kumar
Africa Trends Volume 1, Number 2, March-April 2012
In This Issue Page
I. EDITOR'S NOTE 2 II. COMMENTARY 3-5 Ruchita Beri III. BOOK REVIEW 6-7 Saurabh Mishra
IV. NEWS TRACKNorthern Africa 8-17 Southern Africa 17-21 Central Africa 21-26 Western Africa 26-33 Eastern Africa 34-44 Indian Ocean Region 44-46 Africa Trends Volume 1, Number 2, March-April 2012 EDITOR’S NOTE This edition of the newsletter carries the News Track that traces the developments in the region during the last couple of months, a review of the book Neopatrimonialism in Africa and Beyond by Daniel Bach and Mamdou Gazibou, and a commentary on India's growing ties with Africa.
In the Northern African region, Russians have been consulting Algeria that has strong ties with the Assad regime, on the Syrian crisis. Russia has also accused Libya of arming and training Syrian rebels; the Syrians have denied this allegation. Turkey and Egypt are on the verge of concluding a historic maritime agreement that would facilitate transportation between Eurasia and Africa via Egypt. In Egypt, a new poll shows that most Egyptians do not want to receive American financial assistance. In Morocco, the United States Africa Command scheduled a joint exercise called African Lion 2012 in partnership with the Morocco Royal Armed Forces to promote military cooperation. In South Sudan, instability continues, while India has proposed fresh investment in the oil infrastructure and has appointed Amarendra Khatau, Additional Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, as a special envoy to broker peace between Sudan and South Sudan. Meanwhile, China has cancelled funding for agricultural projects in Sudan. In a significant development, Sudan and South Sudan have agreed to give their citizens basic freedoms in both the nations. In Tunisia, Islamists took to the streets in a bid to step up their demand for the creation of an Islamic state.
In SouthernAfrica, China has stepped up efforts to improve ties with Angola, Botswana, Cameroon and Namibia. It was reported that nearly 40 per cent of Angolan oil is exported to China and that the Chinese are assisting in development of the Douala shipyard in Cameroon. On the other hand, the Central African Republic has expressed interest in increasing Indian investments in infrastructure and uranium mining projects in the country. In the Western African region, instability continues with military coups in Guinea Bissau and Mali, and attacks by the Boko Haram group in Nigeria. It was reported that Nigeria-India trade has risen to US$ 19 billion in 2010-11. In East Africa, India is involved in human resource development in Ethiopia and Rwanda, while the US has suspended aid to Malawi over governance and other issues. Other important developments in the region were discovery of oil in Kenya and an agreement between Mauritius and Seychelles for the creation of the world's largest offshore management area. In Somalia, the situation continues to remain grim with attacks by armed groups increasing. Indian Defence Minister AK Antony has called for greater international cooperation to contain piracy in the Indian Ocean region.
Ruchita Beri India’s relations with African countries are surging ahead in the political, economic and multilateral spheres. To an extent, this reflects India’s recognition of the economic and political transformation of Africa in the recent years. Last year, there was a spurt in the number of countries going to the polls in Sub-Saharan Africa including Ivory Coast in the west to the Seychelles in the east; the Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa and Zambia in southern Africa. At the same time, Africa has performed quite well economically. While Europe registered negative growth rate in 2011, the African continent, in contrast, averaged a growth rate between 5.5 per cent to six percent, with more than 10 countries touching growth rates between 7 to 11 per cent.
No wonder, during the Second India Africa Forum at Addis Ababa last year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh termed Africa as the “new growth pole” in the world. There is no doubt that Africa is an emerging priority for India’s foreign policy.
India is making strides towards strengthening its partnership with African countries. Politically, the relationship has progressed from the earlier phase of idealism and sentimentalism to a more pragmatic and mutually beneficial partnership. India’s engagement with African countries is on three levels - bilateral, regional and multilateral. There were a number of high-level visits from the continent to India in the last couple of years, including South African President Jacob Zuma;
Armendo Guebuza, the President of Mozambique; Hailemariam Desalegn, Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia and President James Michel of Seychelles. Over the past one year, foreign ministers of several African countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Libya, Seychelles, Egypt, Eritrea, and Sudan have visited New Delhi. Earlier in March, trade ministers from several African countries gathered at New Delhi for an India - Africa trade ministers meet. These visits were reciprocated by Indian leaders to Africa; however, the Indian Prime Minister or President made very few visits.
India has been criticised often in the past for its “visibility deficit” in Africa compared to other major powers - particularly the Chinese in Africa. Chinese high-level visits to African continent have been quite regular. Thus, it was no surprise that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spent six days in the summer of last year visiting Ethiopia and Tanzania. Here it is important to note that it was the first ever visit by an Indian Prime minister to Ethiopia. He was back in Africa in October to participate in the IBSA summit at Pretoria, South Africa. Similarly, Indian President Pratibha Patil has recently toured the Seychelles and South Africa. These high profile visits indicate the interest of both India and Africa for expanding political relations.
Africa is a diverse continent and each region has its own unique features. With this in mind India has, since 2010, opened a dialogue with the eight African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) recognised by the African Union. In November 2011, representatives from six of these organisations including the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) East African Community (EAC), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Inter-governmental Authority
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on Development (IGAD), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) participated in the second meeting in New Delhi.
In recent years, African countries have speeded up the process of regional integration, with an emphasis on harmonisation among the RECs. As India’s trade and investment engagement in Africa increases, an ongoing dialogue with the African RECs becomes of critical importance.
At the same time, the relationship with African countries has become more structured and institutionalised. A step towards this direction was taken with the first India- Africa Forum Summit in 2008. The ties with Africa also got a fillip with the second India- Africa Forum Summit held in May 2011 at Addis Ababa. It should be noted that Indian officials have stressed the consultative approach in India’s policy towards Africa, which is apparent in the India- Africa Forum Summit process. It is the African Union that decides the number of countries that are to be part of the process. Moreover, at the multilateral level, whether it is at the UN, WTO or the climate change negotiations, India has shown its appreciation of the Africa group’s perspective.
Economically, the trade between the two regions is booming, with two-way trade reaching US$ 52 billion in 2010-11 and expected to reach US$ 90 billion in 2015. There is no doubt that India Inc.
has been quite proactive in building economic ties with Africa. Over the years, there has been a surge in investments by Indian private sector companies in Africa. These investments span a wide spectrum ranging from energy to consumer goods, telecommunications, agriculture, cement and textiles. Various industry conclaves held in India and Africa indicate the heightened interest of Indian industry representatives and their counterparts in Africa for doing business together.
The recently organised Eighth CII-EXIM Bank Project partnership conclave in New Delhi was attended by 700 delegates from 41 African countries; 200 projects worth $30 billion were discussed during this meeting. The areas of future cooperation include infrastructure, mining, information technology, pharmaceuticals and health care, power generation and agriculture. This latest round of meeting of business leaders will enhance the footprint of Indian industry in Africa. During the second India- Africa Trade Ministers meet in March 2012, the ministers announced the setting up of the India - Africa Business Council that will explore areas of economic cooperation.
Although the Indian engagement with Africa is expanding, there are still a number of challenges.
First is the implementation of the pledges made during the last two India- Africa Forum summits.
During the first India - Africa summit India had offered to set up 19 institutions to help in capacity building in Africa. Last year at Addis Ababa Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced an attractive package that included a US$ 5 billion line of credit for development initiatives, US$ 700 million for education and skill development in Africa and support for setting up several more institutions in Africa. Through these initiatives, India has established that it is interested in a long-term partnership with African countries. However, African countries have often criticised Western countries for their failure to keep their development aid promises. In order to save face, India will have to move at a faster pace to implement these projects.
At the same time the recent developments in North Africa and also the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan have brought to the fore the high risk nature of investments in the African region. India has invested over a billion dollars in acquiring a stake in energy assets in Sudan. In 2003, India’s ONGC Videsh Limited had acquired 25 per cent stake in the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company. However, ever since the secession of South Sudan from Sudan last year, the future of Indian investments in the region has been bleak. Earlier this year, production in these oil fields stopped because of the dispute over the sharing of oil production between the governments of Sudan and South Sudan. Recently, the ONGC facility in Heglig was partially
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damaged due to escalation of conflict between the two countries. In the past India has shied from commenting on conflicts in the African region; however as its economic stakes in the region increase it will have to be more pragmatic and make all possible efforts to influence the parties concerned.
As India’s engagement with African countries surges, New Delhi will have to skillfully and diplomatically balance the task of supporting African development endeavours while keeping India’s best interests in mind.
BOOK REVIEWBach, Daniel C. and Gazibo, Mamoudou (eds.), Neopatrimonialism in Africa and Beyond, Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, London and New York, 2012, pp. xii+260, 978-0-415-68793-5 Saurabh Mishra The theory of neopatrimonialism describes the sets of power functions between private and public interests of the ruler and the ruled. Jean Francois Medard applied the concept of neopatrimonialism to the study of an African state in the late 1970s. The confusion between the public and private spheres was, in his view, the essence of neopatrimonialism. It refers to “patrons using state resources in order to secure the loyalty of clients in the general population”. The patron derives and exercises authority due to his personal influence, which she/he attains by using these resources rather than through modern rational impersonal state institutions and functions. Nearly all the states in Africa are considered neo-paternal in nature and the term has become almost synonymous with the character of African states.
This book has 16 chapters and is in three parts. The first discusses the “meaning and relevance of the concepts”. The second analyses the “transformations that affect the actors, contexts and processes” with which neopatrimonialism in Africa has been associated and the third explores neopatrimonialism in the contexts beyond Africa.
Hinnerk Bruhns starts by giving the different interpretations of Weber’s patrimonial domination.
He is of the view that ‘patrimonialism’ and ‘Weberian sociology’ are manifestly two distinct fields of research and he attempts to clear any confusion about patriarchalism, patrimonialism and neopatrimonialism. Describing the elements of traditional and legal-rational legitimacy, he elaborates the differences between the traditional and modern contexts of dominance and authority.