December 15th, 2011
10:53 AM GMT
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Cape Town (CNN) – Asian trade and investment in Africa is growing, but where investment in Africa has traditionally concentrated on natural resources, India is looking to diversify its interests in the African continent.

In recent years, India has made new inroads into African markets. Tata, which is owned by one of India's richest men, recently built a new truck-manufacturing plant outside Pretoria, South Africa, producing heavy vehicles that are sold in Africa.

“You cannot constantly keep importing finished vehicles,” Raman Dhawan, who runs Tata's African operations, told CNN's Robyn Curnow.

“We've started actually with just assembling the commercial vehicles, which is the trucks and bus chassis, and so as we move forward, yes, we will explore others,” he added. “So the basic thing is that you must put investment, add value locally and that's what we've really followed.”

Tata says the value of its South African projects – from cars to telecoms to metals and hotels – totals around $1.6 billion.

India's rapidly modernizing industries and growing middle class are fuelling some of this growth in African markets.

Safiya Patel is a mergers and acquisitions lawyer who specialises in helping Indian clients. “We've witnessed an acceleration of Indian investors in South Africa over the last five years,” she said. “It's been phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal.”

“Right now we are assisting investors in a whole array of sectors. Pharmaceuticals is big, but I would say mining is top of the list right now, and that's because India itself has a huge power challenge and coal is a commodity that's highly sought after in India,” she added.

Abdullah Verachia advises businesses on the emergence of the BRICS economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

“As we stand today, 57% of the world's population is either Chinese, Indian or African and that has strategic implications,” he said. “Implications politically, implications in terms of south-south co-operation, and implications for the business sector in Africa, in India and in China.”

China's investment far exceeds India's. China is expected to invest more than $100 billion in Africa this year, more than double the $46 billion invested by India, according to the India Africa Business Network.

But one difference between China and India is that Indian business is driven by the private sector – mostly successful family businesses like the Tata conglomerate – which are tempted into Africa by high growth and new markets.

But this influx of investment is relatively one sided so far. The rate of African countries setting up shop in Asia is low and some worry that Chinese and Indian businesses are harming local manufacturing sectors, such as textiles, with their cheaper products driving African companies out of business.

Analysts say tariffs on African exports must be lowered in India and red tape must be cut if Africa is to really participate and benefit from these new flows of investment from the East.

soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Mayur Punekar

    Let me correct the author here. He writes "Tata, which is owned by one of India's richest men" is misleading. Tata group is not owned by an individual rather it is owned by a trust which in turn is controlled by Tata family.

    December 15, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  2. Abhishek Nayak


    JObs for africans???????????????????? Kick TATA the traitor out of india.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  3. Suresh Thati

    @abhishek nayak – Why did you say some thing like that? are you an idiot? if TATA starts a project some where, its a traitor? so you mean, people who do business abroad are doing some thing wrong? you know how many people TATA employs in India, even though India is one of the worst places to do business due to worst redtape and idiotic politicians.. Use your sense when you say some thing...

    December 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  4. Ratan

    @Abhishek Nayak: Another one of those mindless, ignorant moron to post a comment like that.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  5. Prof.Raju Gundala

    Forget about G-7, Forget about G-20. True globalization started now. It is time for G- 50. This is the missing link in the current distorted globalization. India should collaborate in following areas to help Africa in its self sustainable development (Africa India Development – AID).
    1. Low cost Healthcare – such as Narayana Hrudayalaya and Arvind eye hospitals classical examples how Africa can benefit from India – Less than $ 100 per heart surgery and $5 per eye operation.
    2. Agriculture and Food Production – Indian Farmer can help Africa to become self sustainable in food production.
    3. Education and Skill building – Universities collaboration and creating Open University like IGOU
    4. Innovation and IT solutions – Banking /Financial products, alternative energy solutions -solar, wind and Bio fuels etc
    5. Low cost Housing Solutions – Technology solutions
    6. Basic Infrastructure such as ports, roads and railways etc Africa can learn in creating rail network such as Indian Railways (Low cost railway)
    In addition to above factors, following factors also helps Africa to collaborate:
    1. Proximity to India
    2. Historical connection through Mahathma Gandhi
    3. Some of India's innovations fit into Africa’s Immediate Needs
    4. Low cost Innovation – For many Indian companies, Africa becomes testing ground for their innovation in product and services.
    African countries can learn many things from India and this will create win-win situation for Africa and India in a stagnated global economy.

    not resrict this collaboration is not interested in promoting a single company in African Continent. We need to irradicate malnutrition by proper agriculture proactices in african countries. We need to link and promote agricultural linkages so that main problem of african countries can irradicated.Farmers level collaboration required and need to make self sustainable.Indian farmers going to paly very improtant role in building self sustananace in food propdcution. Manufacturing comes later becuase

    December 15, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  6. AJAY

    Prof.Raju sir...'nuff

    December 15, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  7. Kshah

    Africa has its own problems of corruption, they can really feed themselves if they wanted to, (I'm from Kenya), we see so many businesses being run professionally by Kenyans and the owners of these businesses are politicians. The politicians are hiring educated people to run it all.

    They can hire well educated people to run the farming sector, they can learn a lot from the Israelis as well since they are in a desert but are food sufficient...

    All are welcome to conduct businesses in any part of the world

    December 15, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  8. Brock

    Gaining India's investments is great news, but the last couple of paragraphs seem crucial in the long run: Africa needs to produce and export more of its own goods, and if India can reduce tariffs and red tape, that would help a lot.

    December 15, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  9. Beerbarrel

    Chinese investment in Africa, and now also Indian investment, is the best thing that ever happened to Africa. WIth the influx of Chinese investment, the African economy is finally starting to develop and grow. The infrastructure in Africa is finally taking shape. The decades of dealing with the western countries had nothing to show for it. Of course the Africans have little investment in China, or India, at the moment as they have no extra money to invest abroad. After decades of dealing with western countries, are there any African shops in Europe or USA to show? It seems like the jealous western countries want to use a different measurement for China and India.

    December 15, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
  10. Willy

    This is a good news. China has done very successful in SA and made SA much more progress in infrastructure and many other areas. The West only know how to colonize others without giving any benefits to others. This is why China and India especially China have made more contribution to the developing countries than any other country in the world. Bravo to China and India for your honest support to SA countries.

    December 15, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
  11. Sharath

    Cutting Indian red tape specifically for goods from Africa will be a great boost for both sides. More Indian companies can set up shop in Africa and export freely back to India to help cull the inflation faced by its middle classes. In the long term, an emergent middle class in Africa can also be served by Indian companies, which would have established themselves locally as trusted brands and employers by then.

    December 15, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
  12. Sharath

    Ignore the rantings of those like @Abhishek Nayak. India and more importantly Indian companies (including Tata) have a culture of establishing close relationships with the communities they operate in (both in Indian and abroad). They usually complement the work of their Indian facilities with those of their African ones. They are not exporting jobs from either country, but creating new jobs on both sides. Remember, wages are not that much lower in Africa that Indians will lose out on cost performance. So it is best for India and China to take Africa along instead of letting it fall far behind (like the West did with all of us).

    December 15, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
  13. EA Marco Polo

    Comments from Beerbarrel and Willy both are quite good and profound. They present real current world.

    Africa and India both are making progress gradually. The US media should report more balanced and positive foreign news.

    All African countries, India and China should unite together to make harmonious relation and prosperity; even in the future the free trade agreement could be made. The future dominant power – China – has responsibility to assist Africa.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:52 am |
  14. EA Marco Polo

    Africa and some Asian countries had been evilly invaded by the European countries. Millions of African black slaves were tortured by these European countries. Every African people must remember this history.

    Every African country is 100 times better on human right and morality than those European countries. China and India both also have assisted Africa expelling the immoral European countries to get freedom. That is big contribution to freedom of the world.

    Every suffering African country should get apology and compensation (US$20-30 trillion) from these immoral European countries for children's welfare. Europe is declining however human dignity must be respected.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:54 am |
  15. LionOfNarnia

    It's funny. When China makes stuff in Africa, they use Chinese workers. When India does it, they use Africans. They don't give hand outs, they give a hand up!

    December 16, 2011 at 4:28 am |
  16. LionOfNarnia

    It's like China wants to keep them dependent on China. Analagous to a colony. Where as India wants them to be independent and stand on their own two feet.

    December 16, 2011 at 4:30 am |
  17. Edward

    The blue turban the Indian PM is wearing makes him look something like the guy from Team America : World Police. LOL.
    India should first stop terrorising the poor Kashmiris.
    They kill and rape there. Also they should feed their own very poor people.

    December 16, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
  18. VersaMonk

    Wow my last comment was being moderated for a while... are you guys at cnn having a chuckle, don't worry I'm Nigerian happiest people on the planet.

    December 16, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
  19. Vmonk

    First the White-man.. but he did some very bad things... sorry he is still doing but with a "cats paw" Then the China Man.. but he is on a mission to outdo the white-man and eventually eat everyone on the planet. Now the Indian-Man ... this one is tricky did not see this coming sorta like the snow leopard from Ghana he snake charmed his way in...after-all they are brown. Mmmm I wonder are Africans part of the caste system?. Ok so who's next in this big Orggy.. Africa is a Female after all; so if my calculations are correct 2 hands are left. No worries she can't speak right now. who's next?... for everyone else sit back and enjoy the show or wait your turn

    December 16, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
  20. Vmonk

    yeah! it beat the moderator

    December 16, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
  21. whosurdaddy

    world slum unite!

    December 17, 2011 at 3:10 am |
  22. AJAY

    Paki motha fukrs on troll again in India related news..

    December 17, 2011 at 5:29 am |
  23. taxidrive

    India can only export corruption!

    December 17, 2011 at 10:04 am |
  24. RGeneration

    I love how Indians on this forum are crying out saying that TATA is shipping jobs to Africa. Hypocrisy much?? This is especially to that moron Abishek Nayak.....I see you are probably sitting on a comfy chair in the west writing that comment while you as a traitor left India to enjoy the fruits of the west.

    December 17, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  25. Edward

    India exports its people to the UK and US. They have a crap economy at home that is why.

    December 18, 2011 at 9:57 am |
  26. Edward

    India should sort out its own homegrown beggars first.

    December 18, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  27. Edward

    Why do Indian agents plant bombs in Afghanistan and Pakistan killing innocent civilians ?

    December 18, 2011 at 10:23 am |
  28. Edward

    Edward to answer your question it is because they hate moslems.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  29. Edward

    But why do Indians scream and cry when somebody hits them back ? Afterall Hindu Terrorism is just as bad.

    December 18, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  30. edward mother

    abe gandu ki aulad edward tera baap gandu tha isliye maine indians ko fudi di ..
    tera assli naam hai ashok kumar :)

    December 18, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
  31. edward mother

    we pakis can only wine wine wine wine ..we cant compare ourselves to Indians .. 2011 indian gdp was 6.5 trillion

    pakistan 2011 ..800 million aid from usa , 5 million from India and china ... until we wont stop beggings we always be beggers..

    we pakis can only cry but cant do anything ..Indians slap us 24/7 but can only dream about kashmir ;(

    December 18, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
  32. edward mother

    indians walked in pakistan .we 90000 soldiers wet and creamed ours salwaars offered our gands to 500 indian soldiers.. then they divided us ..we lost all wars Indians own biigest companies around the world .. and we pakis
    can only suck chinese lund...
    indians already in afgan and will be in pak .. i am not sure how we gna save our women .. pak women love indian men

    December 18, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
  33. Porklover

    Jinnah was in love with Gandhi .. Gandhi used to do jinnah up the arss for years .. jinnah was gandhi slave boy ..

    but when Jinnah asked for to be Indian pm ... gandhi gave it to nehru ... Jinnah got jealous cos his gand went for free ..

    thats how Pakistan came in existance :)

    December 18, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
  34. Porklover

    whats the diff between paki men and boys???

    pak boys raise goats and donkeys ... paki men get emotionally involved

    December 18, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
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    March 31, 2012 at 5:02 am |
  36. dohne

    you see, westeners taught indian everything but forgot to teach how to be civilised. thats why they talk like this.

    April 4, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
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  39. icon pack

    Calm down!

    November 4, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  40. AAA

    seeing lots of butthurt whites and pakis here.... chill down guys... there's no need to be jealous.

    May 21, 2013 at 6:00 am |

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