Week 8: Emerging Powers – India in Africa

This week’s reading India’s Rise in Africa by Ian Taylor focuses on the rising significance of interest in Africa and India’s role within international relations. Indian relations in African have been overlooked and Taylor further seeks the implications of India’s interest in Africa and compares it to China’s approach of development and aid in Africa. India’s foundations and relations with Africa prioritize their energy security and determination to be taken seriously as an important global player just as much as they recognize Africa’s opportunities for investment sites, export markets and capital accumulation for their interests.

The shift of India from an aid recipient to an aid donor has allowed them to develop higher education systems, vocational training institutions, and other services for African populations. Their economic activity in Africa has also shifted greatly from the individualistic nature of most western corporations. Indian aims in Africa are to help diversify their exports, and have done so in Taylor’s example of the Tata Group. I found this to be very interesting because what we have learned in class is that many nations are self-interested, however, when it comes to trade and exports India is attempting to further expand their markets and agricultural resources. I found that the benefits of Indo-African relations and the willingness of India to provide assistance to African society and economy to be extremely interesting and very positive. Their supplying of cheap, generic anti-retroviral medication is significantly increasing the number of AIDS patients being treated, and their focus on hiring locally as well as providing adequate training gives local personnel the capacity to maintain these companies after development assistance. Another perspective of the India and China relationship with Africa struck me as intriguing when Taylor suggested that they are complementary to each other. China as supplying the hard infrastructure while India takes a larger focus on the technical services and assistance significantly cheaper than those of western nations.

Do you think that India’s efforts are an attempt to increase their position on the international stage and overcome competition with China, or do you agree with Taylor’s suggestion that India simply plays the role of ‘conscious keeper’ and provides technology, skills and advice for development complementing China and their focus on infrastructure and material resources?

The second article this week, Offshore healthcare management: medical tourism between Kenya, Tanzania and India, explores the common type of ‘tourism’ as they call it that allows foreign patients to seek healthcare in better equipped, cheaper hospitals, most commonly in India. It seeks to understand the industry of medical tourism in the context of globalization and liberalization. India is seen as a global health provider because of their cheap, developing world costs which very much relates to one of Taylor’s points in the previous article that this is a way in which Indo-African relations different from Sino-African relations. Following the implementation of structural adjustment programs, African healthcare facilities and services experienced severely constrained funding.

Do you think that the term ‘medical tourism’ is problematic? Consider Modi’s reference to India as a necessary evil in order to compensate for the lack of services in Africa, whose interests are ‘pure business’.

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