China cannot be blamed for its presence in Africa

Sunday, Nov 1, 2015,13:48 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | China cannot be blamed for its presence in resource-rich Africa, Mauritius Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth said today, but hoped that a better placed India will soon overtake it in that continent.

His comments come close on the heels of the successful completion of India-Africa Forum Summit where Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched for deeper ties with African nations, amidst growing concerns here of increasing Chinese strategic footprints in the region.

We can’t blame China. Like any other country, China also wants to be present in Africa and it is a win-win situation for China and Africa. India is in a far better place as Indians have been settling in many countries in Africa since almost a century.

There is quite an important Indian population in Africa and there is already a close link between certain African countries and India. So India is in a far better situation, Jugnauth told PTI in an interview here. Mauritius, which is seen as an investment gateway for Africa, also has dominant Indian-origin population.

The Prime Minister, who was here to attend the third India-Africa Forum Summit, said, I think PM Modi has taken very good initiatives as India don’t want to lag behind and I am sure and I believe that soon India will overtake China in Africa.

When asked whether he was making a comparison with China, the Mauritius Prime Minister said, I won’t say that it is a comparison. An island nation that has been a significant source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and portfolio investments coming into India, Mauritius has very strong ties with the country traditionally.

Mauritius is more than an investment gateway to Africa. It is a natural bridge between Asia and Africa in view of the Mauritius appurtenance to Africa coupled with strong cultural ties with Asia, Jugnauth said.

As part of efforts to strengthen ties with resource-rich Africa, India has announced a concessional credit of USD 10 billion for the next five years and a grant assistance of USD 600 million. However, commitments from China for Africa are much higher and some reports suggest it could reach USD 1 trillion by 2025.

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