Photograph — WikiMedia

India’s Prime Minister has announced his government’s plan to open new embassies across 18 African countries very soon. He announced this during his state visit to Uganda while addressing the country’s parliament in Kampala, the country’s capital on Wednesday.

India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi is one of the world leaders that would be in Johannesburg for the BRICS -Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – a conference that is set to hold later in the week. He, however, paid a state visit to country’s president, Yoweri Museveni for his benevolence towards the Ugandan-Asians who were sacked from the country during the days of former leader Idi Amin.

He said his country will strengthen diplomatic ties with Africa with the creation of these new embassies but did not reveal the names of the countries. This will be an enormous boost to India’s diplomatic missions in Africa as it currently has 29 embassies across African countries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at the Ugandan parliament made him the first serving Indian prime minister to address the parliament.

Asia’s focus on Africa

Over the years, Africa has caught the attention of many world powers, becoming the focus of many world leaders with India taking bold steps to gain a high level of economic presence and influence on the continent. With china’s eye on African countries since the dawn of the trade war with the US, many believe India is out to wrestle power and break the hegemony of its regional competitor in Africa.

Prime minister Modi ended his two-day state visit on a high note with the donation of loans worth $200 million (171 million euros) to the country for infrastructure and environmental projects. According to Uganda’s Foreign Affairs minister, PS Mugoya, the visit will see India extend two loans which Uganda has been negotiating for some time now while a $141 million facility for extension of electricity lines and construction of substations, and $64 million line for agriculture and dairy production were embedded in the deal.

Meanwhile, President Xi Jinping of China had also signed some agreement in Kigali on trade, infrastructure, investment and other vital parts of the economy to boost the east African economy.

During the 2-day state visit, President XI Jinping concealed his country’s intention to partner with African countries noting how China has continued to cooperate with African countries with an unrestricted access to the continent. He had also visited Senegal in a bid to fortify his country’s ties with African countries.

With the Beijing Summit of FOCAC (Forum for China-Africa Cooperation) billed to hold in September, and the reaffirmation of his country’s commitment to international trade with Africa, experts have continued to raise concerns about how its continuous infiltration of the African market poses a threat to locally made goods.

According to Xi Jinping, “for the past decades, China and African countries have been treating each other with sincerity, friendship and pursuing solidarity and cooperation. We are bound by the community of shared future and common interest to grow our solidarity and cooperation with Africa as an important foundation for China’s foreign policy and China’s longstanding and unwavering strategic voice,” he said during a visit to President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.

China currently has its diplomatic missions across 50 African states and continues to hold sway in the continent trade sphere, with a massive import of China goods into Africa market. The addition of 18 new embassies will definitely give the south Asian country the much-needed influence to hit the kind of financial and diplomatic advantage its regional competitor presently has.

There are also concerns regarding how the Asian power bloc may have found Africa’s market to be an enabling sales environment for their market and technologies. This among many other things rouse fears among manufacturers amidst the China trade war with the US. However, the deals are good for the future of many struggling economies in the continent if harnessed the right way.

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