Author: Fantu Cheru, Cyril Obi.
Cheru, Fantu and Obi, Cyril. 2011. "CHINESE AND INDIAN ENGAGEMENT IN AFRICA: COMPETITIVE OR MUTUALLY REINFORCING STRATEGIES?." Journal of International Affairs 64 (2): 91-110. http://www.jstor.org/stable/24385536
This article explores the strategies used by China and India to build a strong relationships with Africa. It analyzes China and India's competing interests and strategies around four broad issues: access to Africa's potentially vast markets, development cooperation, diplomatic influence and energy security. Several questions are raised based on the nature, similarities, differences and impacts of Chinese and Indian strategies. Will these create a new dynamism in South-South relations, or lead to a new form of asymmetrical relations between Africa and its Asian giant friends? What are the likely implications of closer Sino- and Indo-African ties for the continent's relations with the West, Africa's traditional trading partner, with which it has long-established relations, economic ties and strategic interests? In seeking explanations or answers, we caution that the differences between Chinese and Indian strategies of engagement are more of form than intent, underscoring the primacy of the competing national interests that do not completely foreclose mutually reinforcing strategies. We note that India's strategies presently swing between playing "catch up" with China—which has clearly made greater inroads—and pragmatically accommodating Chinese and other interests in Africa. There are even instances, as in the case of the Sudanese oil industry, in which Chinese and Indian oil companies are cooperating as partners in an oil-producing consortium, despite competing in other African countries. While the emerging scenario is one of competition that is moderated to some extent by accommodation, we conclude, based on certain conditions, that in the medium to long term, India may turn out to be more competitive than China in its engagement strategies with Africa.