Article written

  • on 27.10.2015
  • at 11:16 AM
  • by Kimberley Evans

India-Africa summit: 54 African countries and India hold talks 0

The Third India Africa Summit takes place in New Delhi between October 26-30. Over 50 African countries are expected to take part with most of them represented by their heads of state or government. This will be India’s most important and extensive outreach and will set the stage for even more economic and political interaction between India and Africa.

African and Indian ties are as old as the story of mankind. Mankind is generally believed to have originated in Africa, from where it migrated to other parts of the world, but first to South Asia across the Arabian peninsula and Southern Iran, about 80,000 years ago, according to the genetic evidence analysed by Luigi Cavalli Sforza and Stephen Oppenheimer. Closer to the present, the common experience of Africa and India with European colonialism gave them language, law, tradition and commerce that strongly bind them, as both regions strive to break out of the cycle of poverty and backwardness.

Growing fast

Africa is the second-largest and second-most populous continent on earth with an estimated population in 2015 of 1.17 billion people. Africa is home to 54 sovereign states and countries. The total Gross Domestic Product of the African continent is now over $2.8 trillion and it is growing at over 5% annually. This pace of growth will ensure that most African countries will be “middle income” by 2025. The projected GDP of Africa in 2050 is $29 trillion, placing it in the same range as India’s projected 2050 GDP. This is projected to be anywhere between $33 trillion-$55 trillion by 2050, depending on the growth trajectory and economic policies adopted. Clearly those who ignore Africa can now do so only at their own cost.

The two fastest growing economies, China and India are already major partners in Africa’s growth – 12.5% of Africa’s exports are to China, and 4% are to India, which accounts for 5% of China’s imports and 8% of India’s. This will only rise, specially India’s due to its faster growth trajectory and historical and geographical proximity to Africa.

The World Bank estimated in 2011 that 32.7% of Indians and 47.5% of Africans were living on less than $1.25 per day. Together, nearly 900 million people in India and Africa live in extreme poverty – almost 70% of the worldwide total. Strong economic growth over the past decade has made significant inroads into poverty. In the past decade, India posted an average GDP growth rate of 7.4% and Africa of 5.7%. Nearly 10% of Africa’s population escaped absolute poverty while India recorded even faster poverty reduction, with nearly 17% of its population exiting extreme poverty.

The Indian growth story since 2000 has taken the country to the third rank in global GDP in Purchasing Power Parity terms. By 2050, India’s GDP is expected to be the largest, as its favourable demographics will endow it with the world’s biggest middle class. In the next four decades, 180 million Indian families will join its middle class, making it the largest expansion ever of the middle class in the world. The global growth story is now jumping continents.

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by Mohan Guruswamy

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