India and Africa

This week’s readings focused on the relationship between the country of India and the continent of Africa.  In the first article India’s Rise in Africa, by Ian Taylor, India is shown to have social, economic, and political ties to Africa.  Much like we saw in the readings last week concerning China and Africa, India is similar in many ways.  However, one of the differences that is pointed out in the article is that, while China’s dealings with Africa have been on a state-to-state basis, India is more involved on commercial/individual level.  One of the most interesting points of the article to me was the discussions surrounding aid.  India is one of the few countries that has transformed from being an aid receiver to an aid giver.  This transformation has given even more political and economic security to India as a result.  This newfound security is then channeled into development projects in Africa, but similarly to US aid, comes with its own political and economic agendas.

The second reading Offshore Healthcare Management: Medical Tourism between Kenya, Tanzania and India, by Renu Modi, discusses the increased amounts of Africans from Kenya and Tanzania traveling to India for medical treatment or procedures.  The reason for this “medical tourism” is because the infrastructure and facilities in these African countries can be inadequate for the treatment required.  After discussing the historical and structural issues involved in creating the medical issues in Kenya and Tanzania, Modi explains why India is the preferred destination for these African citizens for medical treatment.  It was interesting to note that not only do these Africans seek medical attention in India because of reputation or recommendations, but also because many Indian hospitals actively recruit patients and advertise their hospitals in Kenya and Tanzania.

The final reading Fragile Fortunes: India’s Oil Venture into War-Torn Sudan, by Luke Patey, explains the difficulties of India-based oil company OVL in securing oil from post-conflict Sudan, such as political challenges and Chinese competition.  By securing oil contracts in Sudan, India padded the agreement with development support and troops for the UN peacekeeping within the country.  Despite their apparent success, OVL faced much confrontation within Sudan, with local militias and rebels threatening them after not seeing benefits of the oil company after it was established.  Yet it continues to operate within war-torn Sudan and learn the realities of what is entailed.

Questions:  What are the ethics behind India’s involvement in Africa?  What are your thoughts on India’s profiteering of medical services through recruitment and advertising?  Could India use its current situation in Sudan to help rebuild and develop North and South Sudan and create a viable economy similar to the Chinese mining development model?

Josh S

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