THE first Africa-India summit has just ended in the Indian capital New Delhi. The meeting which involved 14 African heads of state was an opportunity to forge stronger links with the Indian sub-continent. A similar summit was hosted by China last year.
The recent strong economic growth rates of these countries is making some analysts predict that in our life time, the axis of economic power will shift to Asia from Europe and the US.
Their respective governments know this and know that in order to sustain the current growth rates and spread the benefits to the majority of its people, access to natural resources is critical.
Resource-rich Africa is, therefore, an attractive ally in India and Chinaâ€™s road to development. But the relationship can be turned around.
These two economies, while eons ahead of Africa in development, have only been recently at the same level of development and, therefore, more relevant role models for our own development ambitions.
Previously closed economies, the two giants have had to rely on their own wiles to push progress.
In agriculture, for example, because of their huge populations, arable land is at a premium, but each has a few lessons to teach about maximising the potential of small land holdings.
They have also pioneered appropriate technologies, financing and land tenure systems that we could pick a leaf from in our attempts to uplift rural incomes.
Beyond that, they have strong pharmaceutical, information technology and manufacturing industries.
Whereas there is a lot to be gained from this association, let us have no illusions about Asiaâ€™s ardent courtship â€” this is a second scramble for Africa.
Our leaders have an obligation to walk into these partnerships with their eyes open and only agree to arrangements that will have long-term benefits for our respective nations or we will end up holding the short end of the stick again.
Stronger relation with Asia good