Dr Barnaby Dye (FutureDAMS, University of Manchester) and Professor Soares de Oliveira (Oxford) have recently won a grant to study the role of natural resources within India’s development cooperation activities in Africa.

The project, starting in October will research a particular aspect of India’s development cooperation activity linked to natural resources in Africa. This element is under-appreciated compared to other countries like China and Brazil, for whom natural resources are often discussed as a major motivator. However, India’s engagement in African oil and minerals is significant.

The project’s central question is how state-business relations and India’s natural-resource strategies affect the country’s development cooperation. This includes analysing where efforts to build bilateral relations have been focused and the rationale behind international partnerships like the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor and International Solar Alliance.

But equally crucial here is the role of India’s private sector. It conducts development activities independently, for instance through corporate social responsibility programmes. Private companies are also important agents in India’s government development cooperation activity, for example through ExIm loans.

“This is a really exciting project generating research on an overlooked area on India-Africa relations. Whilst there is an increasing awareness of India as a major player in Africa, few know about its increasingly widespread role in development cooperation activities or what is behind these efforts,” said Dr Dye. “This project gives us a chance to do some detailed research on who is involved in this trend and why the Indian government and companies are interested in Africa”.

Dr Barnaby Dye and Professor Ricardo de Oliveira will be undertaking new research using interviews with key decision makers and analysis of secondary material. The  project seeks to provide a deeper conceptual understanding for the how and why of India-Africa development cooperation in the African context, unearthing new knowledge about India’s development cooperation and what, as well as who, drives its decision making.

This grant is awarded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) who are funding the India-UK Development Partnership Forum (IUKDPF), partly based in the Margret Anstee Centre at the University of Cambridge. The Forum aims to build knowledge and partnerships between the India and the UK and is particularly focused on researching the rise of India as a development actor.

For more information regarding the project you can contact the researchers directly via email: Barnaby.dye@manchester.ac.uk or ricardo.soaresdeoliveira@politics.ox.ac.uk

Image: Jitendra Parihar/Thomson Reuters Foundation on Flickr (CC 2.0).

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