Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), May 23 (ANI): While the West continues to project and pit India against China in Africa, India has rejected reports that it is competing with China.
It has also ruled out any sort of scramble for Africa ahead of the second India-Africa Summit, which begins here on Tuesday.
"Africa is a growth pole for the future. It has got its act together. Africa has tremendous economic potential. It is a continent on the move. For us, it is an opportunity and, for the rest of the world also, it is an opportunity," said Indian officials travelling with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Ethiopia and Tanzania.
There is a space for both India and China, and it must not be seen as a scramble for Africa, official sources added.
India blames the West for projecting India versus China in Africa, as western influence has diminished in the continent which it always considered its backyard.
China's trade with Africa was a mere two billion dollars in 1999, but it has since soared to a stunning 110 billion dollars annually, putting it ahead of almost any Western trading partner on the continent.
China has also boosted its financial investment in Africa, bolstered its political and diplomatic influence, built roads and hospitals as foreign aid for Africa, and grabbed access to African oil and mineral resources.
India, on the other hand, has lagged far behind, but is now beginning to reduce the gap. Its trade with Africa has risen sharply, from just three billion dollars a decade ago to a record 46 billion dollars last year.
New Delhi is aiming for 70 billion dollars in trade by 2015.
At the Africa-India Summit, India is expected to extend a Line of Credit and offer a range of goodies, including 500 million dollars in new credit; establishment of 15 vocational training centres in variousfrican countries; two coal institutes in Mozambique; a diamond institute in Botswana; skills training for 20,000 Africans over five years, and several regional "centres of excellence" focusing on subjects such as foreign trade and information technology, according to media reports.
Fifteen African leaders are expected to attend the summit with India.
Ahead of the summit, India has also organized an "India Show" in Addis Ababa, including a trade exhibition, business discussions and cultural programmes.
On the economic front, India has massively increased its oil imports from Africa - primarily from Nigeria, Sudan and Angola - as a way to reduce its dependence on Middle Eastern oil.
India is importing minerals from the continent, including gold from South Africa and coal from Mozambique.
And the Indian diamond-cutting industry, the biggest in the world, is fuelled by fast-growing diamond imports from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
India's investment in Africa, meanwhile, is increasing rapidly. One of its biggest companies, the Tata group, has invested in nearly a dozen African countries.
The Indian mobile phone company, Bharti Airtel forked out nine billion dollars last year to acquire the African operations of Zain, which provides mobile phone services in 15 African countries. By Naveen Kapoor(ANI)