India’s development cooperation with African countries has been on the rise since 2014, guided by principles of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,’ (the World is One Family) and SAGAR (Security and Growth for All)
Development partnership and capacity building are at the core of India’s relationship with Africa. To date, India has completed more than 190 projects in Africa; forty-one African countries are major recipients of all credit extended by India; its investments in Africa reached $98 billion in 2023, with trade totaling $100 billion.

Under capacity building and skill development programmes, India had announced 50,000 scholarships for African youth during IAFS-III, out of which more than 32,000 slots have been utilized. India is also helping countries to bridge the digital divide. The Pan Africa e-Network, launched in 2009, was purposefully taken forward with the first phase completed in 2017.
With the introduction of e-VidyaBharati for tele-education and e-Arogya Bharati Project for telemedicine (E-VBAB), India has added a new chapter in its engagement with Africa. So far, 19 countries have signed the MOUs to become partners.
During the last five years, 6 IT Centres in South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Lesotho, Ghana, Namibia and Tanzania, a Centre for Geo-informatics Applications in Rural Development- Technology Centre in Madagascar and Niger were established to promote digital transformation in Africa. A Technology Centre in Zimbabwe was also upgraded.

In fact, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe have been among the most important beneficiaries of India’s development cooperation investments in the region.


India’s relations with Mozambique in southeastern Africa have evolved and grown stronger over the last few years. Ruchita Beri, consultant at MP-IDSA rightly argues that while peace ensures opportunity for development, security enables as well as protects fruits of development.

In February 2022, India and Mozambique signed a MoU for implementation of a Drinking Water Project at the Mueda District under Government of India’s grant assistance of USD 10 million.
In June 2022, India donated a consignment of Covid-19 related assistance packages consisting of PPE kits and face masks to Mozambique besides 2 Mahindra SUVs to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mozambique. 

New Delhi’s engagement with Malawi in Southeastern Africa has also registered a northward trend in the recent past, and both sides have been actively engaging in expanding Business ties particularly in the pharma sector.

Relations between India and Malawi gained momentum with the visit of the Minister of State for External Affairs to Malawi in June 2022. This was the first high-level visit from India after the new government formed under Dr. Lazarus Chakwera.

In the wake of devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone ‘Freddy’ in March 2023, India sent five aid consignments to Malawi containing disaster relief items like blankets, tarpaulins, milk powder, medicines and other essential items.


Resource-rich Namibia in Southwestern Africa has also been at the forefront of India’s development diplomacy in the Sub-Saharan region. 

In March 2024, 47 Rwandan Applicants participated in the special ITEC courses on “Bringing Digital Efficiency in Cooperatives” and “Developing Entrepreneurship within Cooperatives” in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. In June 2023, an India-Namibia Centre of Excellence in IT (INCEIT) was inaugurated at the Namibia University of Science & Technology (NUST) with Indian support, including provision of a super-computer.

This was India’s second major educational investment after an ‘India Wing’ was established at University of Namibia’s Ongwediva campus in 2014 through a grant support of about USD 12 million.

In July 2022, during the visit of deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah to New Delhi to attend the 17th annual CII-India Africa Growth Partnership conclave in July 2022, both sides signed an MOU on ‘Wildlife Conservation and Sustainable Biodiversity Utilisation.

In September that year, eight cheetahs were transferred from Namibia to India’s Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh for Cheetah’s reintroduction into India’s wildlife, making it the world’s first ever intercontinental trans-location of a major carnivore species.

Under development partnership, several Indian diamond-cutting and polishing establishments have also started their operations in Namibia offering skills-training and generating employment for the locals. India has also been providing assistance to improve health infrastructure across Namibia.


India’s development partnership with Rwanda has grown stronger and more pronounced over the past few years. Since PM Modi’s visit to the central African nation in 2018, India has offered LOC for development and agriculture projects worth USD 200 million.

In 2021, Rwanda – India Entrepreneurship Development Centre (RIEDC) was set up to instill entrepreneurial culture amongst indigenous entrepreneurs in Rwanda. Thereafter, Indian mission in Rwanda organised two Business Symposium at the Rwanda India Entrepreneurship Development Centre, Kigali in March and June 2022 to promote business and investment ties.

Additionally, over 280 Namibian businesspersons had about 500 interactions in June 2022 at Mission premises with a business delegation from Indian Economic Trade Organisation. Sector specific B2Bs were also facilitated with CAPEXCIL (Chemical & Allied Export Promotion Council, India) and FIEO (Federation of Indian Export Organisations) in March and April 2022 respectively.

Uganda and Tanzania

India’s development diplomacy in East African nations of Uganda and Tanzania has been multi-faceted. In 2018, PM Narendra Modi announced US$141 million Lines of Credit for power infrastructure and US$ 64 million for agriculture and dairy development in Uganda.

In April 2023, India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar inaugurated National Forensic Sciences University’s 130-acres first foreign campus at Jinja city in eastern Uganda. It is the first ever overseas campus of the NFSU.

India’s development-aid diplomacy with Uganda over the last five years also includes donation of automobiles to the Ugandan Government, Bhabhatron Cancer Therapy machines to the Uganda Cancer Institute, NCERT books for Ugandan schoolchildren, and solar-powered irrigation pumps to aid agriculture. 

India’s development cooperation with Tanzania has also registered an upward trajectory in the recent past. During the State Visit of President of Tanzania Dr. Samia Suluhu Hassan to India in October 2023, bilateral relations were elevated to Strategic Partnership. As part of India’s medical diplomacy in Tanzania, 10 ambulances were gifted to the Ministry of Health of Tanzania in 2023.

In August 2022, a joint delegation from India-UAE Healthcare sector including Indian hospitals and diagnostic chains visited Tanzania to explore investment opportunities. During the visit, Apollo Hospitals signed an agreement with Eclipse Group for setting up a 60-bed cancer hospital in Dar es Salaam.

India has also granted LOC of USD 268.35 million for extension of water pipeline from Lake Victoria to towns in western Tanzania, which was inaugurated in two phases in 2021 and 2023. Importantly, the first offshore campus of IIT Madras has been set up in Zanzibar.

Zambia and Zimbabwe

India’s development investments in Zambia and Zimbabwe have also been noteworthy.

In 2023, India extended an LoC worth US$ 10 million to Zambia for general development purposes including purchase of TATA buses, motor vehicles, motorcycles and supply of vocational tool kits.

New Delhi also extended an LoC India supported Zambia with a Line of Credit of USD 68 million for construction of 650 prefabricated Rural Health Posts and primary health centers.

As part of India’s development investments in Zimbabwe, India’s M/s RITES Ltd and National Railways of Zimbabwe signed an MOU on technical cooperation for Transport and related infrastructure projects in March 2022. Following this, a delegation led by Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructure M. Madiro visited India in August 2022.

In June 2022, India offered a consignment of 950 sewing machines to the Angel of Hope Foundation along with a consignment of TB medicines to the country’s Health ministry.

Notably, in August 2023, Zimbabwe took a significant step towards promoting millet cultivation and consumption by hosting a pre-conference workshop. This event was a precursor to the India-Africa International Millet Conference in Nairobi, Kenya.


Evidently, India’s development diplomacy with the African subcontinent has revolved around credit lines, infrastructure development, scholarships and training programmes and medical aid diplomacy. More than 50,000 African patients visit India on a medical visa each year.  The idea of a shared past and a shared future defines the contours of India’s engagement and development partnership with this part of the world.
*** Writer has been associated with National Security Advisory Board as a researcher; views expressed here are her own