1 December 2010


Alex Vines

Dr Alex Vines OBE

Research Director, Area Studies and International Law; Head, Africa Programme


  • The second India-Africa Forum Summit takes place in 2011, three years after the inaugural event in New Delhi. Sub-Saharan Africa's exports to India have almost trebled over the past five years and Indian-African business links - particularly in energy resources, precious metals and uranium - have boomed.
  • India is also emerging as a non-Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donor and Africa has benefited. The Indian navy also plays an increasingly important role with anti-piracy missions in the Indian Ocean.
  • India's relations with Africa receive far less attention in the West than China. Although India sees China as a competitor in Africa it has to date lacked the resources and infrastructure to compete directly but India says its 'soft power' engagement in Africa is different from that of the Chinese.
  • India's footprint in Africa has been private-sector-led and its diplomatic presence is limited, although is picking up. India must strike a balance between the South-South coordination promoted by its policy-makers and the economic self-interest of its businesspeople.

Further resources

The above paper was presented at a meeting in Delhi in December 2010 to increase policy understanding of this fast growing relationship between Africa and India. Other papers also presented at the conference include:

Conference Report: Two Years on from the Forum Summit: The Future of Africa-India Engagement
Africa Programme, Chatham House
This conference report examines the legacy of the 2008 India-Africa Forum.

The Changing Nature of Nigeria-India Relations
Parvathi Vasudevan
This paper offers a case study on a specific bilateral relationship from the point of view of an Indian scholar.