Prospects of India-European Union Cooperation in Africa

Date01 July 2020
DOI10.1177/0020881720934338
Published date01 July 2020
Subject MatterArticles
Prospects of India-
European Union
Cooperation in Africa
Kamil Zajączkowski1 and Arvind Kumar2
Abstract
In the contemporary geopolitical environment, this article outlines the issues
and challenges faced by Africa and explores India–EU cooperation in addressing
them. An attempt has been made to analyse this cooperation within the context
of dynamic changes taking place in Africa. On the one hand, the essence of
the phenomenon of Africa as a potential market is presented; on the other
hand, it is depicted as a continent of challenges and threats. These factors have
been assessed and analysed independent of China’s growing role in Africa. While
describing both EU and India’s engagements in Africa, the article outlines specific
areas of cooperation including defence and security, development cooperation,
trade and investment, infrastructure development, climate challenges, and
strengthening institutions of democracy.
Keywords
Counterinsurgency, diplomacy, geopolitics, Indian political history, international
politics, neorealism, nuclear arms and control
Introduction
Both the European Union (EU) and India have been consistently making a
sustained effort in improving their overall cooperation with Africa. With their
increasing economic engagement, the prospects for EU–Africa and India–Africa
would depends not just on quantitative factors such as trade and investment, but
1 Deputy Director, Centre for European Studies, University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland.
2 Department of Geopolitics and International Relations, Manipal Academy of Higher Education,
Manipal, India
Corresponding author:
Arvind Kumar, Head, Department of Geopolitics and International Relations, Manipal Academy of
Higher Education, Manipal, Karnataka 576104, India.
E-mail: arvind.kumar@manipal.edu
International Studies
57(3) 240–258, 2020
2020 Jawaharlal Nehru University
Reprints and permissions:
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DOI: 10.1177/0020881720934338
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Research article
Zajączkowski and Kumar 241
also a strategy that convinces the African people that economic engagement with
Europe and India would be mutually beneficial.
The article has outlined issues and a challenges Africa has been confronting
with explores India–EU cooperation in addressing them. The EU–India
cooperation in Africa will create a positive atmosphere at all dimensions including
political, economic, diplomatic, and strategic. These will basically be completely
independent of China’s growing profile in Africa. India and the EU will not make
any attempt to compete with China in Africa but would explore ways and
mechanism to work in a manner which would create a win–win situation for all in
Africa. In addition to these multifaceted dimensions, India and EU together can
help improve the overall status of Africa in all the major multilateral institutions.
C. Clapham states that ‘Africa is a mixture of mutually exclusive phenomena
that is, economic growth and poverty, wars and conflicts and attempts to create a
regional security system’. The position of African countries in the international
political and economic system will largely depend on which element will gain the
upper hand (Clapham, 2005, pp. 20, 36). In 2000, The Economist in its cover story
used a very strong narrative: The Hopeless Continent (The Economist, 2000). A
decade later, on the 3 December 2011 issue, the cover already proclaimed
something completely different Africa Rising. The growing importance of Africa
in the world economy is confirmed by data and analyses prepared by multilateral
agencies like the World Bank, IMF, United Nations Economic Commission for
Africa (UNECA) as well as by independent think tanks.
At the same time, Africa, despite these positive trends, remains the poorest
region of the world—as reflected in the Human Development Index (HDI)
rankings. As a result of weak state institutions and structures, Africa remains a
source of threat—terrorism, armed conflicts and the resulting waves of migration
directly impacting Europe. In the 1990s, the Africa was marginalized in the
international arena. Since 2000, however, significant changes have emerged in its
global positioning. In the emerging geopolitical dynamics, all the major powers
such as the United States, the EU, China, and India have a significant presence in
Africa.
The article has made a modest attempt in understanding the complexities of
multidimensional problems being confronted by Africa and how the EU and India
together can help Africa in overcoming the larger issues impacting development.
It maps the areas of cooperation and analyse the emerging trends by taking certain
specific country-level perspective. Why India and the EU can work together to
optimize the tangibles in Africa is assessed. It also analyses the dynamics, nature
and scope of changes taking place in Africa. On the one hand, the essence of the
phenomenon of Africa as a potential market is presented; on the other hand, it is
depicted as a continent of challenges and threats. Against this background, an
objective assessment has been made on probable India-EU cooperation in Africa.
This article examines the focus of EU and India’s engagement towards Africa in
terms of development aid and trade cooperation. Finally, how their cooperation
together would help address the issues in Africa is analysed.

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