By Kato Mivule
Interestingly, India has had business operations within Africa for many years but seems now to be awakened by China’s $100 Billion investment in Africa. India now plans a massive $100 Billion investment in Africa for the next five years. India will also focus much of the investment in Information Technology and mining included.
India’s trade with Africa soared from $967 million in 1991 to $35 billion in 2008, but remains way behind China’s nearly $100 billion…. New Delhi: “India expects to triple trade with Africa over the next 5 years to reach $100 billion,” officials said, as it tries to strengthen ties in a region where Asian rival China has made rapid inroads. Despite an economic slowdown, India is planning a slew of projects in agriculture, small industry, mining, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), oil pipelines, chemical industry, power generation and transmission among others.
Both China and India are in a rush for mineral resources in Africa. However, one wonders what all this means for the African Nations. What is their ‘say’ in matters of an independent Information Systems Infrastructure, if there is anything at all like that in Africa? Who will call the shorts and what regulations will be in place to protect individual nations.
Information Systems Infrastructure are part and parcel of any nation’s Sovereignty today and what measures have African Leaders in place to protect their Information Systems while at the same time allowing business growth that should be focused at improving the livelihood of local people.
India and China are both ‘businessmen’ and no doubt simply concerned with Mineral Resources they can exploit from Africa so as to cover the needs of their growing populations. China has been one of the greatest culprits when it comes to ‘Dumping’ bogus third grade good in Africa.
Many Ugandan Business Men for instance are lamenting the very poor quality of goods being ‘Dumped’ in Kampala by Chinese Businesses. A business man in Kampala cannot make returns off shoes imported from Italy as a Chinese business man in Kampala imports a ‘third grade’ copycat counterfeit product while being protected by the local government.
What assurances have Africans that the Chinese “I.T. Investments” won’t be a junk I.T. Infrastructure?
Many African leaders are caught up in the mentality of “Beggars have no choice”…and “the Investor is King”…. However, we have to Rivals who both want to give to the “beggar”…so why not set prerequisites? In this case the”Beggar” might very well have a Choice…