In the 21st Century, India has become a dam builder in Africa. In line with booming development cooperation with the continent, India now provides subsidised lines of credit which have financed a number of infrastructure projects, including dams. However, there are few academic studies of this trend and little knowledge of the potential differences in India’s financing, planning and construction of dams. This presentation examines this phenomenon with an in-depth case study of a dam in Rwanda, the Nyabarongo Dam. It was financed by the Indian ExIm Bank and built by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, alongside a relatively new an inexperienced firm Angelique International. These companies were the main constructors on Indian dams in Africa and yet for Angelique, Nyabarongo Dam was their first time leading the civils work for a major infrastructure project. The presentation explores the complex positive and negative impacts stemming from regulations for India’s concessional credit up to 2015 and the involvement of these specific companies. These range from project costs, to its technical functioning and socio-environmental impact. Through this case study, the paper reflects on India’s development cooperation more broadly, but also argues that to understand such projects, and the developmental impact of India in Africa, it is vital to consider the agency of African governments.
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