India Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, was on a two-day visit to Kampala, Uganda. During his visit, Mode made some rather interesting announcement; India plans to open 18 new embassies across Africa.
Political and Economics pundits have described this move by India as a charm-offensive tour across Africa. India, though has its fair share of socio-economic disparities, is nonetheless one of Asia economic powerhouses. Though China has been on the African charm-offensive for much longer and on a much-bigger check. It would seem, India does not want to be left behind, as Africa is open for business.
On his last day of the two days tour, Modi announced that India will be making a $200 million worth of donation to Uganda in the form of cancer therapy machines and funds that will go towards setting up infrastructure and environmental improvement projects.
India, just like China, wants to socio-economic influence over Africa and is now embarking on aggressive development of trade, financial, and diplomatic ties with the continent. Currently, India has just 29 full diplomatic missions in Africa; a far cry from China’s 50.
Though official communications from India does not disclose which African countries the new embassies will be opened, they, however, state, the embassies will be up and running within the next three years.
Modi also lauded Uganda President Yoweri Museveni for welcoming back the Uganda-Asians who were brutally expelled by former President Idi Amin Dada. President Museveni was the one who ousted Idi Amin.
“Your visionary leadership has enabled Uganda people of Indian origin to return to their cherished home, regain their lives, and help rebuild the nation that they deeply love,” said Modi before a parliamentary chamber. Through this address, Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to address the Uganda legislature.
India is very keen to remind Africa, that it has been a friend to the continent, long before China and many other countries coming to seek investment opportunities. Modi spurred up memories from as far back as the 16th century when Indian merchants plied the African coastline and were instrumental in Africa’s fight against European colonialism.
Before his trip to Uganda, Modi was in Rwanda where he symbolically donated 200 heads of cows to the poor families. He also oversaw the signing of a loan from India to Rwanda. From Uganda, he flew to South Africa for the BRICS summit.
The BRICS summit will bring leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa to delve into economic talks, which will also touch on the looming USA-led trade wars around the globe.