Can India keep pace with China in Africa, or is it running on a different track?

Can India keep pace with China in Africa, or is it running on a different track?

  • The two Asian giants are extending overtures and outreach to African nations, prompting speculation they are competing for power and influence
  • But while Beijing’s deeper pockets have given it a foothold, analysts say New Delhi’s approach gives it unique advantages – and there is room for both

From humanitarian aid to investments, India and China have in recent years alternated between overtures and outreach to Africa – prompting speculation that the continent has become a new arena for the two Asian giants as they vie for power and influence.China, with its much deeper pockets, has poured in more resources and claimed a larger stake in Africa, but India’s unique advantages mean it might not have to settle for second fiddle.Beijing has dispatched medical experts and vital supplies to more than 50 African countries to help them combat Covid-19, while New Delhi has likewise reached out to at least 32 African countries with medical supplies and other essential drugs to help stem the spread of the disease.

While this indicates the neighbours are jostling to establish post-pandemic clout in Africa, the consensus from analysts is that competition is unnecessary as there is room for both to make their presence felt, with the countries adopting different outreach strategies.