India-Africa Cooperation in Human Resource Development: Education, Training and Skills


Capacity building is frequently claimed to be at the heart of India’s
development cooperation. The terms “training” and “capacity building”
appear throughout the India-Africa Framework for Strategic Cooperation which emerged from the 2015 Third India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) as they do in earlier Summits. This is so not just in the section on cooperation in education and skills development, but in most of the other sectoral dimensions of development treated in the Summit documents. Equally, capacity building is one of the five elements of the “development compact”
synthesized by Chaturvedi in India’s Approach to Development Cooperation. It also appears frequently in the India-Japan initiative of 2017 for the AsiaAfrica Growth Corridor (AAGC). Typical of the identification of this talent as peculiarly Indian are these comments from a former ambassador to many African countries as well as from Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi:

Our unique strength is in the area of capacity building and skill
development and that is what we must leverage. Modi himself has
stressed that our approach to partnership with Africa was “driven
by the aim of empowerment so that people in Africa have the
capability to shoulder the responsibility of their continent’s

The term is not easily defined but it does suggest something done by one
party to another to make good deficits of various kinds. This is not the
only possible meaning. In the African Union’s framework, Agenda 2063,
capacity building covers the African initiatives of its financing partners as
well as some of its own institutional development aspirations.

In this occasional paper, many different dimensions of India’s cooperation
with Africa are reviewed, but particularly in the area of human resource
development (HRD), and specifically in relation to education, training and
skills development. These cover India’s engagement with Pan-African
initiatives, its bilateral involvement in institutional development, as well as
the support to non-state actors in Africa, both non-governmental organizations and the private sector. India’s support to African students through scholarships as well as to professionals through short-term training awards is one of the oldest elements in its cooperation. But attention will also be given to India’s “soft-power matrix” in its outreach to the world, including to Africa.

The subject of Indian aid had come up frequently during our study of
China’s Aid and Soft Power in Africa. Already in that book, there were
references to “Indo-African skills transfer”, Indian Technical and Economic
Cooperation, and to the India-Africa Forum Summits; and we were aware
that India had one of the largest programmes for short- and long-term training in the world. We were aware that India had followed Japan and China in holding a series of India-Africa summits, and it was clear from
these that India felt it had a particularly close historical relationship with

Post description:

  • Publication year: 2019
  • Content type: Journal article
  • Form of cooperation: Comprehensive
  • Cooperation context: Multilateral
  • Region (country): Africa
  • Sector: Multisectoral
  • Institution (publication): Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi
  • Written by: Kenneth King
  • Keywords: soft power, India-Africa cooperation, human resource development
  • Link: