The ‘Rising Powers,’ China and India, and Africa: challenges and opportunities

Researcher: Dr. Sumit Roy

The research aims to unfold more fully through political economy the challenges and the opportunities  stemming from the  growing  critical ties between two key ‘Rising Powers,’ China and India, and Africa. This has been somewhat speculative, distorted, and ideological  with negative and positive economic and political expectations.  This requires investigating  the ways in which linkages between several levels impact on the prospects of sustainable development in Africa-global, regional, national,  sectoral, and state (public) versus market (private). This is underscored  by nations coined as the ‘Rising Powers’-Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS)-wielding mounting influence  in  world affairs.

The thrust is on the nature of the shift in the strategic vision of China and India towards Africa from politics and ideology to economic development. This impinges primarily on trade, investment, and increasingly aid, and ‘moving up the value chain,’ diversifying the economy, and inducing structural change. Alongside, the intrusion influences exchange over political and cultural norms. In this realm it has to be emphasised that China and India function under different systems- the former pursues a  ‘planned’  or ‘state driven’ ‘centralized  democracy’ and the latter a ‘mixed’ or state and market based ‘multiparty democracy.’ This drives China’s reliance on its state and India’s on its private sector to execute policies in African nations with different political and economic structures and underpins the coexistence of tension and cooperation.

The relationship is a facet of Africa’s complex interplay with states and institutions within and beyond its borders. This makes it crucial to assess how it can bolster its bargaining  prowess vis a vis the ‘Rising Powers’ to boost its own vision of development.
 

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