ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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India in Africa

The government of India's economic relations with Africa are increasingly becoming exploitative.

With public focus directed towards the climate change negotiations in Copenhagen and domestically, on the turmoil over Telangana statehood, an important event hosted by the government of India went largely unnoticed. The second India-Africa hydrocarbons conference, attended by delegations from 22 African countries, was held in New Delhi in the first week of December and concluded with India signing an “umbrella MoU” (memorandum of understanding) with Sudan to expand cooperation in the oil and gas sector. Indian officials made it clear that they are encouraging Indian oil companies, both in the public and private sector, to “aggressively and widely participate in the various rounds [of exploration and production] in African countries which are rich in resources”. The Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Jitin Prasada, summed up India’s approach as increasing the amount of crude oil and natural gas bought from Africa and encouraging further Indian investments in Africa’s oil and gas sectors.

Over the past few years, Indian companies, led by the public sector ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), have significantly increased investments in African oilfields. Already, more than 15% of India’s import of crude comes from Nigeria and Angola and major investments have been made in Sudan, Libya, Egypt, Congo-Brazzaville and Gabon. Talks are also on with Ghana for acquiring oil blocks and with Nigeria for setting up oil refineries. In 2008, 8.8 million tonnes of petroleum products were produced from India’s “overseas petroleum assets”, a figure which is only expected to rise in the future. OVL’s investments in Sudan alone exceed $2.5 billion and should see a substantial addition as a result of the MoU signed at this conference.

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