India Africa relation starts from the Indus Valley Civilization (2500-1500 BC) and continues. The important point is now the relations are getting even stronger.

They both share a special bond as they had faced and overcame similar difficulties, for instance, colonial exploitation, socio-economic backwardness, common challenges, and many more.

These two countries have faced similar exploitation from colonial rule and have struggled for independence, thus, they understand each other in a better way.

To analyze their relationship and help you prepare the best UPSC notes out of it, let us go through a brief tour of India’s relation with Africa from 2500 BC to 2021.

Historic Overview

We can break Africa-India relations into three broad categories – Ancient, Medieval and under British rule.

Ancient Relations

#1. Afro-Indian relation begins during the Bronze Age civilization. Many excavations have revealed the trade-relation in-between them.

Excavation of pearl millet and remains of an African woman is the evidence of this relation.

#2. Evidence of African trade with India can be seen in Greek’s accounts of Ptolemaic Egypt in the 2nd century BC.

#3. Later when Roman came into power the volume of trade expanded.

Medieval Relations

Relations grew even stronger in this period because of the development of trade routes.

Under British Rule

Both Africa and India were under British rule and therefore it built their relationship for their benefit. Mumbai was made a centre for ivory trade between East Africa and England.

Man Connecting Both the Countries

Gandhi was the man connecting both countries. He initiated a huge movement to raise his voice against discrimination against black people by white ones in Africa.

Also Read: Bal Swaraj Portal: UPSC Current Affairs Notes for Better Preparation

Current Report of India-Africa Relations: UPSC Perspective

India is developing its relationship with Africa in the spirit of “developing together as united”. They both are taking steps to develop this South-South cooperation.

They are jointly addressing common issues like developing green technology, boosting cultural relations, and the blue economy, etc. However, there is still some space left to build this relationship even better.

In July 2018, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Ugandan parliament and articulated a better foreign policy to boost their friendship.

After independence,  Africa was not seen as the main diplomat. But in recent years their relationship is getting encouragement from the government.

10 Guiding Principles for India and Africa Relationship – Important for UPSC Notes

# Africa will be the priority of India and it will continue to intensify this engagement.

# India and Africa development partnership will be prioritized and it will build as much as a local capital city and create local opportunities in Africa.

# India will have lenient market policies to increase trade with Africa.

# India will support the digital revolution in Africa. Moreover, India will take measures to improve public services, extend education and health and support the spread of digital literacy and financial institutions.

# India will improve Africa’s agriculture by using its experience.

# They will develop cleaner technology and face the challenges of climate diversity.

# They will combat terrorism and extremism together and fight cyberspace crimes. Moreover, try to maintain peace.

# They will cooperate to keep the Indian Ocean open and free.

# India will train and develop African youth for this development.

# They will step together to the road of representative and democratic global order.

Also Read: Fortaleza Declaration: Here’re the Important Facts to know about the Trending Topic for UPSC

Political Relation

India’s political relation with Africa has improved over years. More than 18 Indian missions were launched in Africa.

Moreover, more than 29 visits have been taken by Indian high-level executives in African countries from 2014 to 2018 and more than 54 African countries have sent their officials to India.


Capacity building and training under Indian technical and economic cooperation, lines of credit, or concessional loans and grant assistance, trade and investment are four main pillars to embody India’s partnership approach with Africa.

India is currently the fifth-largest investment investor in the Africa continent and the largest employer. Moreover, India is continuously working to broaden this multi-dimensional relationship.

India is providing LOC through EXIM Bank for development in an African country. African countries have been given the liberty to select these projects and implement them according to their local requirements and needs.

This whole process aims to enhance the relationship between these two countries. In total, India has provided 181 LOCs to 41 African countries of $11 billion.


India is the largest investor in Africa 2021. India took many initiatives to develop trade relationships with Africa.

Initiatives Year Launched
Focus Africa 2002
Duty-Free Tariff Preference Scheme for least developing countries 2008

There are also some privately led conclaves.

African countries benefited from India’s DFTP for LDC (2008) schemes. Under this scheme, India has granted these countries duty-free access to their exports to India (96%+ 2.2%+ 1.8%)


India has a rich experience of 40 years of Green Revolution and Triple A’s technology development. Therefore, it intends to help African farmers assist in increasing their agriculture production.

Vocational Training Institute or Incubation Center has been open in Africa. Only five of them are operational till today.

Moreover, the Agribusiness incubation program is proposed to build a food processing Business Incubation Center in Angola, Cameroon, Ghana, Uganda and Mali.

India is trying to boost the cooperative farming model in African countries, especially in Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya and Malawi. This will help Africa countries to produce more agricultural products with limited sources.

Also Read: What is the Zionist Movement? All Important Facts to Know for UPSC

Defense, Security and Relations

India is providing defence and security to Africa, not only from external threats but also from threats like food, energy, and immigration security

Field training like field training exercise 2019, known as AFINDEX-19 is one such program of building diversity of African military offices from Indian Institutes.

Moreover, the many delegators of Africa, participating in Indian Defense exhibitions like defence Expo and Aero India to import arms

Open and Free Ocean

India is cooperating with African countries to keep the oceans open and free for trade.

India and Africa have initiated the Indian Navy 2015 Maritime strategy document and Africa Union 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy together.

This program was complemented by PM’s SAGAR and SAGARMALA initiatives by India.

This naval cooperation is going on to the next level by regular food visits, giving support, and sharing intelligence.

Moreover, they are jointly developing naval facilities in Agalega Island. This will increase India’s Navy presence in the Indian Ocean.


Both India and Africa have to deal with terrorism and extremism of groups such as Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, Jamaat al Dawa, and Qaeda. India is providing training programs to train the African military.

Cyber Security and Digital Technology

India is investing to build and provide technical assistance to train youth over Africa under the ITEC program.

Moreover, it has invested over $100 million to develop Pan-African E-Network to strengthen Africa’s IT sector and join the countries via digital.

Climate Changes and Adaptations

Both India and Africa have determined to promote the use of green technology. This can be seen in India’s SDG commitments and Africa’s Agenda 2063.

Also Read: What is Indian Ocean Dipole? Important Details about IOD for UPSC Aspirants

Just, Representative, Democratic Global Order

India and Africa are working together to build a pathway for a democratic global order. The Election commission of India is assisting African countries to manage their election in a better way.

Namibia, in 2014, became the first country in Africa to use EVMs for their election.


India is even maintaining its friendship over tough times. Africa is badly struck by Covid-19. India has launched the Vaccine Maitri initiative to improve its cooperation with Africa over the health sector.

India had supplied hydroxychloroquine, paracetamols, and test kits to 25 countries of Africa. Now, India has launched Vaccine Maitiri to give millions of vaccines to African countries.

This topic is of high relevance for your UPSC preparation from Mains GS perspective. For more such topics and related to UPSC exam information and notes, visit UPSC Pathshala.

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Shilpa is a professional web content writer and is in deep love with travelling. She completed her mass communication degree and is now dedicatedly playing with words to guide her readers to get the best for themselves. Developing educational content for UPSC, IELTS aspirants from breakthrough research work is her forte. Strongly driven by her zodiac sign Sagittarius, Shilpa loves to live her life on her own notes and completely agrees with the idea of ‘live and let live. Apart from writing and travelling, most of the time she can be seen in the avatar of 'hooman' mom to her pets and street dogs or else you can also catch her wearing the toque blanche and creating magic in the kitchen on weekends.

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