Asia-Africa Growth Corridor | RSTV

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently pushed for an Asia-Africa Growth Corridor supported by Japan and India. This comes up within days after China launched its ambitious OBOR. Asia-Africa Growth Corridor was launched during the annual meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB) at Gandhinagar, Gujarat, where the vision document was launched for the initiative.

About Asia-Africa Growth Corridor

It is a roadmap for opportunities and aspirations of Asia and Africa and has been launched with an aim to prioritize development projects in agriculture and agro-processing, skill enhancement, health and pharmaceuticals and disaster management.

It is destined to focus on people centric sustainable growth approach, the details of which would be evolved through a process of detailed consultation across Asia and Africa.

Background

The idea of Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) had emerged during the Joint Declaration issued PM Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe during the former’s visit to Japan in November 2016.

Components of AAGC

  • Development and cooperation projects
  • Quality infrastructure and institutional connectivity
  • Capacity and skill enhancement
  • People to people partnerships

Analysis

  • AAGC aims to be an efficient and sustainable mechanism for linking economies, industries and institutions, ideas and people in Africa and Asia in an inclusive manner unlike China’s OBOR strategy which aims to form colonies in the area through its economic power.
  • There is vast and untapped potential in both Asia and Africa which needs to be explored for shared growth, development, peace, prosperity and stability of these regions.
  • If Africa looks towards US or Europe for these things, it is very expensive. So, India and Japan are the best in terms of compatibility of interest for Africa. China’s OBOR is concentrated on Eurasian mainland for trade by creating trade infrastructure because China has huge reserves built by trade surplus over the years which has to be balanced globally. AAGC is Indian Ocean oriented initiative basically for the African people and their priorities. India is willing to assist Africa as per its priorities and requirements whereas China is more self-centred
  • As far as engaging more partners is concerned, South Africa is undoubtedly India’s strategic partner. But South Africa’s relationship with China also needs to be monitored and its role in unfolding strategy of China in Africa. Japan’s major flagship conference took place in Kenya whereas China’s major flagship conference took place in South Africa. So, these are the indicators for India to see which countries it can depend upon or bring in to AAGC.

 Mandate of AAGC

  • Effective mobilization of financial resources for inclusive development.
  • Application of high-quality standards in terms of compliance with international standards established to mitigate environmental and social impact.
  • Contribution to the local society and economy of the partner countries.
  • Providing quality infrastructure and taking into account various aspects of economic efficiency and durability, inclusiveness, safety and disaster-resilience, sustainability as well as convenience and amenities.
  • Alignment with socio-economic development and development strategies of partner countries and regions concerned;

Conclusion

At a time when China is rapidly expanding itself in Africa, India and Japan do not have luxury of time to wait and observe the ramifications of such an expansive strategy. We should immediately seizure the moment and initiate a few joint pilot projects involving the private and public sector companies of India, Japan and a few African countries in identified areas like agriculture, health and infrastructure.

Click Below to See the Debate on RSTV

Raj Malhotra IAS Study Group.