International Conference on
International Conference on
Africa is undergoing tremendous change and transformation over the past two decades. This swift emergence of Africa has changed the perception about it from Afro-pessimism to Afro-optimism. The continent has been able to overcome multiple debilitating challenges to economic and social development and is posting substantially high growth and development. The demographic advantage may make Africa into a global manufacturing hub. The Africa’s future, however, faces many challenges that need to be understood and addressed. The old paradigm and templates of engagement are no longer viable as the continent is being sought aggressively by many countries, the growing and emerging economies as well as by traditional powers.
Japan, China and South Korea are major pole and anchor of the global economy and contribute a significant share to world trade and economy. These growing economies are making a rapid entry into Africa. Their expanding engagements in the fields of development co-operation, trade and investment are seen as a vehicle for boosting Africa’s growth. The drivers being, the high demand for minerals and oil and investment from these countries and markets for manufactured goods. However, these relationships are not limited to economic sphere but encompass different sectors like political, social and security spheres. Some of these countries have institutionalised their engagements with regular meetings with heads of states and partnering country like China’s FOCAC and Japan’s TICAD. Another facet of this engagement is in field of security challenges, peace keeping and conflict resolution. China, of late, has begun to play a more proactive role in peace keeping in the continent. Many African countries host significant diasporas communities from the region and African diasporas can be found globally. Their role in shaping these engagements has been growing and is becoming significant and needs to be understood.
India and Africa engagement is founded on a long history of shared struggle and mutual partnership. This relationship got a flip in the recent years with greater economic engagement boosting ties. India’s trade with Africa for the year 2015 is target at about US$ 100 billion. The First India-Africa Forum Summit in 2008 marked the initiation of far more pragmatic and concerted effort on part of India to institutionalise this engagement. The third edition is slated to be held soon and is anticipated to enhance the level of its engagement in different sectors. The continent after a phase of decline in conflicts is again seeing a rise in their levels and is contributing substantially to the UN efforts. India currently is amongst the largest troop contributor to UN Peacekeeping missions in Africa. Another challenge that has become an area of increased concern is the growing numbers of youth. They need skill development to be meaningfully engaged otherwise they can become a major cause for instability and insecurity which can become a major area of engagement. Indian Diaspora communities in Africa are vibrant and thriving. Their role in shaping these engagements has been growing and is becoming significant and needs to be understood.
While the world is trying to engage with the African continent, which itself is very diverse; hence there is not a single approach to this. Rather there are many nuances and differences in the strategies and policy adopted and their consequent outcomes. These need to interrogated, examined and compared to further our understanding of the continent and anticipate its future. This conference proposes to consider the engagement by these countries with Africa and compare these with India. It will also try to bring out a comparative perspective by inviting papers on comparison of these Asian countries, India and other regions or country's engagement with Africa.
Against this backdrop, African Studies Association of India (ASA India) in collaboration with the Centre for African Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India International Centre, Organisation for Diaspora Initiatives and supported by Heinrich Böll Foundation is organising an International Conference on 'Africa’s Engagement with Japan, China and South Korea: A Comparative Perspective with India' on 9th and 10th October 2015.