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India and its commercial soft power strategy in Africa

15.08.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
The trade policies that characterize trade between India and Africa are unique in that they originate from a very old South-South cooperation deeply rooted in the global economic landscape. Since the Bandung Conference, the first conference of Afro-Asian Nations in 1955, which condemns, among other things, colonization and racial segregation, both parties have already reaffirmed their willingness to work and progress together. As was the case in the face of colonization, which had been the story of a common struggle, India and Africa decided to make their way together on the ground of prosperity and hence of trade. This willingness to cooperate, was even recently renewed by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, during his tour in Africa in July 2015. In front of the Ugandan Parliament, Narendra Modi then raised, in a solemn outing, the need for the India and Africa fight together for prosperity after once fighting colonization together.

Unlike nations such as the United States, China, France and England, India has decided to detach itself from others to bet on its “soft power” in Africa, including trade. This status has already earned it the status of being Africa’s second largest trading partner after China. Equitable cooperation’s, capacity buildings, sustainable developments, these are all formulas that characterize the commercial soft power of India in Africa. The soft power, “soft way” or “power to convince” is a concept originally used in international relations. Developed by the American professor Joseph Nye, it knew several ramifications and founded the base of the exchanges between Africa and India, in addition, influencing considerably the field of the large distribution which represents a greater percentage of the continent’s emergence. With its gentle way of convincing labeled in soft power commercial, India has been able to set up, in Africa, commercial policies adapted to the needs of the continent and in full compliance with its aspirations on three major projects: supermarkets, pharmaceuticals and the automobile.

Retail: Botswana, “everyone’s shop” policy

Founded in 1986, known as ” Choppies ” is today the benchmark for mass retailing in Botswana. She is now the largest private employer in Botswana. After the government, she is the first employer in the country. With over 7,000 employees and a population of around 2 million, this Indian group has established itself as a major retailer in Botswana. Its inking comes from the fact that ” Choppies ” has set up a strategy still non-existent on the continent in order to facilitate, to all the social strata, the easy and fast access to products of first necessities, each according to his means. To do this, this Indian group has developed a rather complex and exceptional policy profitable for both the Botswana citizen and for the distributors: the “everyone’s shop” policy.

Across the country, the brand offers three types of stores. There are shops with high quality products. They are intended for the most fortunate. There are also shops for the middle class and finally shops for the popular class. In summary, it is according to the incomes of the inhabitants that Choppies chose the type of shop to install in a particular area after statistical findings.

In addition to its triptych distribution based on salary conditions and human concentration content, Choppies stands out completely from other distribution areas in the country. Its distribution policy pays great attention to the country’s products. ” Choppies ” sells and distributes exceptionally 70% of the production of local farmers; which is not negligible when we know the negative impact of foreign products promotion in a country, and on the African continent.

Pharmaceuticals: South Africa, ” Cipla ” and its ‘Affordable Medicine’ Strategy

The field of pharmaceuticals is also affected by the commercial soft power of India, which has always aspired to progress with Africa and not to make significant margins at the expense of its partner. Mahamat Gandhi, in his time, had already set the stage for such synergy when he unveiled the broad lines of trade that would materialize the relationship between India and Africa. At that time, it stood out from the other Western powers for whom trade had to be structured as consumer goods for raw materials; which very often put the economy of African countries in very great difficulty.

In the pharmaceutical sector, India, with Cipla, is present in the production and distribution of pharmaceutical products on the African continent. Recognized as the world’s largest manufacturer of antiretroviral drugs, India’s leading generic pharmaceutical company has decided to set up in South Africa with Cipla Medpro South Africa Limited and develop an affordable antiviral drug policy. For the African stock market. With this gentle strategy taking into account the social climate and the economic situation, Cipla has made itself a place of choice on the continent, especially among HIV-positive people thanks to its antiretrovirals sold much cheaper than those of Western companies. Although Cipla is much better known on the African continent thanks to antiretroviral drugs, it should also be noted that it is intended to fight alongside Africa by making easily accessible several other molecules such as antimalarial and anti-hepatitis approved by the United States.

Automotive: Uganda, Tata and its “transport for all” policy

The automobile sector still suffers from too much partitioning on the African continent. Between the tractors that are necessary for skilled farming, utility vehicles that are of undeniable importance in infrastructure construction and buses which stands as an unavoidable source for the movement of people and goods.

Furthermore, India has been able to take advantage of its commercial soft power on the African continent to set up its transport policy for all in Uganda. This policy, designed to allow all Ugandans to move as easily as possible and at a minimum price, this has enabled Tata, the automaker, to hold a monopoly in this transport sector in Uganda. In this country, the name of the group has even become synonymous with the vehicle in question.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

Photo Credit : google image/illustration

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