16 January, 2021

N'Djamena Ahoy!

Oil lures India's diplomacy into remote West Africa

N'Djamena Ahoy!
India's search for new sources of oil—and political influence—has washed up on the remote shores of West Africa where New Delhi's foreign policy reach has been notable for its absence. On March 1, New Delhi will jumpstart its West Africa policy when eight ministers from that part of the world—Senegal, Mali, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Chad and Burkina Faso—will sign a framework agreement that will see India give financial and technological support in exchange for oil and natural resources these countries abound in. Never has New Delhi seen such a motley gathering of African dignitaries as for the 'Team-9' initiative (eight African countries plus India).

It might appear odd that New Delhi should reach out to these nations, considering the poor experience of Africa's ability to pay back soft loans. But all this is changing because of the economic growth these countries are witnessing. Equatorial Guinea, for example, was considered a basket case, poor beyond redemption. With the discovery of oil, its annual per capita gdp jumped from $800 in the...


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