During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan in 2016, both India and Japan sought to institutionalize socio-economic development of Asia and Africa. There, the idea of promoting a growth corridor was crystallized. Subsequently in 2017, at the African Development Bank meeting held in Gujarat, India unveiled the vision document of the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC).
The joint declaration on AAGC is being seen as a masterstroke of geopolitics in this region, as it apparently counters China’s Belt and Road Initiative which India has blatantly snubbed owing to sovereignty issues.
What is Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC)?
The Asia-Africa Growth Corridor is an India-Japan economic cooperation agreement aimed at the socio-economic development of Asia and Africa. The vision document for AAGC was released by India in the 2017 African Development Bank meeting.
The aim of the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor is to develop infrastructure and digital connectivity in Africa through Indo-Japan collaboration. It will envisage a people-centric sustainable growth strategy by engaging various stakeholders. The priority areas will be health and pharmaceuticals, agriculture and agro-processing, disaster management and skill enhancement.
The Asia-Africa Growth Corridor is to be based on four pillars:
- Enhancing capacity and skills.
- Quality Infrastructure and Institutional Connectivity.
- Development and Cooperation Projects.
- People-to-People partnership.
Why is it important for Asia and Africa?
Opportunities are abundant in both the resilient economies of Asia and the rapidly growing African continent. Both regions have the advantage of young demography, and their social indicators are on an accelerating trajectory. There is an urgent need to explore the untapped potential of these regions.
The Asia-Africa Growth Corridor will be instrumental in creating new production channels, expanding and deepening the existing value chains, ensure economic and technical cooperation for enhancing capacities, facilitate a greater contact of peoples between the two continents, and achieve sustainable growth over the longer term. This project is responsive to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) too.
What is the current role of India and Japan in Africa?
- India has always had contributed to Africa, huge human and financial resources. The recently held India Africa Growth Summit in New Delhi attended by heads of state of all 54 countries was a huge diplomatic success that rejuvenated and strengthened ties between both entities. There were crucial announcements of economy and trade, that included a $10 billion concessional credit line offer.
- India has a voracious appetite for natural resources and is seeking to expand its markets. It has made significant strides to counter China’s juggernaut and reported ‘neo-colonialism‘.
- At the same time, India’s contribution to the development of the social sector of Africa through the Pan Africa e-network has been indispensable in cementing such strong ties between the Indian subcontinent and the African continent.