India and Africa: Towards a Sustainable Energy Partnership

"The depletion of hydrocarbon resources, due to unprecedented growth in energy demand from developing countries, concerns over the disruption of energy supplies arising from political instability in the Middle East and the emergence of energy ‘nationalism’ in some oil-producing states, has resulted in major and emerging economies shifting their focus to finding alternative energy sources. However, this has resulted in a ‘scramble’ by various countries to gain access to the continent’s vast energy and mineral resources. Unfortunately the focus is on resource extraction instead of resource generation, which has created a number of problems for Africa’s people by turning what should have been an asset into a curse. More importantly, the resulting imbalance in the development of the continent’s economy and growth could perpetuate Africa’s status as an energy-poor continent. Under these circumstances, can Africa emerge as an effective and sustainable energy source that will contribute to the stability of the world energy market? This study looks at the evolving energy-based relationship between Africa and India and assesses the merits and demerits of India’s energy strategy; whether the strategy is any different from the strategies and policies of other actors present on the continent, and whether it has the wherewithal to evolve into a policy based on co-operation that will succeed in moving beyond the narrow confines of the energy trade to a more long-term,sustainable and mutually beneficial partnership? This study ends with recommendations on how India should embed its African policy and energy ties in a developmental framework."