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In Africa, it's now India vs China

July 04, 2006 20:45 IST

After having wowed the West, India is now looking at Africa.

Continuing his foreign policy offensive, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will visit South Africa and Tanzania – two important African nations -- after attending the Summit of Non-Aligned Movement countries in Cuba in September.

The prime minister's security team has already visited Cuba for the preliminary survey.

Dr Singh will fly to Cuba after attending the summit of the G-8 countries in Russia.

Dr Singh is expected to ask the G-8 countries – among the richest in the world -- for more funds from developed countries for the development of the health sectors of the developing countries.

On the sidelines of the G-8, Dr Singh is likely to discuss bilateral issues with United States President George Bush, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Observers will watch Dr Singh's visit to Africa keenly as the region is considered the hottest emerging economy after Asia.

In April, Chinese President Hu Jintao had highly successful and a much talked about tour of Morocco, Nigeria and Kenya. 

He even addressed the Nigerian Assembly. China's presence in Africa is growing so wide and deep that in his speech in the Nigerian Assembly, he had to convince the African people that China's presence in the region was no threat for them.

'China's development will not bring a threat to anyone, but, instead, will only bring more opportunities and space for development to the world.'

China is eyeing Africa to whet its insatiable appetite for raw materials. This is making them the dominant power in sub-Saharan economies across the continent.

Against the imports of valuable and affordable African raw material, cheap Chinese goods have flowed into the markets of Sudan, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Angola.

China's trade with Africa is around $ 40 billion and increasing.

In 2000 it was merely $10.6 billion.

Like China, India too has infinite opportunities in Africa.

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi