Subaltern Voices Series

Speaking & Theorizing from the Disciplinary Margins


Dr. Meenal Shrivastava (Assistant Professor, Coordinator of Global Studies and Political Economy, Athabasca University)

Topic: “Political Economy of Africa-India Relations: Remaking of a South-South Alliance?”

Dr. Wenran Jiang (Associate Professor, Political Science and Acting Director, China Institute, University of Alberta)

Topic: “Political Economy of Africa-China Relations.”

Date: Thursday, 8 February, 2007


Dr. Shrivastava's Abstract: It is analytically awkward to compare the relationship between a country and a continent. Arguably, in this case it is possible since India is a postcolonial country of continental proportions due to its size and diversity, while the African continent is comprised of sixty-one territories, with shared histories, identities and closely tied economies carved out rather arbitrarily by former colonizers. Traditionally Africa-India relationship has been driven by the shared historical experience of colonization and the concomitant political, social and economic problems that the newly independent states faced. During the Cold War era, the Non-Aligned perspective espoused by India and a significant number of African countries created further common grounds. Additionally, the Indian Diaspora settled on the African continent since colonial times has been an important agent in this relationship. However, the emergence of the New or Knowledge Economy has affected India and Africa remarkably differently. While the resilience of democracy and the post-independence policy of government subsidization of education, coupled with the liberalization of economic sectors opened the flood gates of impressive economic growth and a reckoning as a future world power for India, Africa has benefited marginally from the New Economy, with only a few exceptions. Poverty has widened and deepened even in the most developed economies in Africa; political instability has become the hallmark of a number of African countries; and regionalization efforts have remained stymied. Ironically the rise of the BRIC group of countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) has led to further political and economic marginalization of the African countries internationally. Economically, China and India are greatly contributing to demand growth for African commodities; however, this is only contributing to a raw material boom. Will this trap the continent in a vicious international division of labor? What does the emergence of China and India mean for Africa? How has India’s engagement with Africa changed in the new political economy? This presentation will outline the historical trajectory of India-Africa relations in the international political economy.

Dr. Shrivastava's Bio: Dr. Meenal Shrivastava is an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Global Studies and Political Economy at Athabasca University. Dr. Shrivastava holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature and an MA in History from the University of Rajasthan in Jaipur; and an MPhil and PhD from the School of International Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi. Prior to joining Athabasca, Dr. Shrivastava was a Senior Lecturer in the Department of International Relations at the University of Witswatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she periodically conducted guest modules with trainee diplomats at the Department of Foreign Affairs. Her research interests include the World Trade Organization, Globalization, Environmental Management/Politics, Role of Technology, Gender studies, Contemporary South Africa and India, and International Relations theories. She is on the editorial board of the International Environmental Review and the Book Reviews editor for Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies. Some of her recent publications include: “Gender Bias and the Environment” (with Vijaya Gupta and Neelima Naik), in Jugale, VB (ed.) State of the Indian Economy (New Delhi: Serial Publications, forthcoming 2006); “Limits to Democracy: Transparency in International Economic Institutions,” South African Journal of International Affairs, 12, 2, (Winter/Spring 2005): 113-25; “Indian Women and the Environment: Vulnerability, Efforts and Opportunities” (with Vijaya Gupta and Neelima Naik), Interdisciplinary Environmental Review, VI, 2, (2005); “International Media Regime and News Management: Implications for African States” (with Nathalie Hyde-Clarke), Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies (Carfax), 31, 2 (November 2004): 201-18.

Dr. Jiang's Bio: Wenran Jiang is associate professor of political science and Acting Director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta, Canada. He is a Senior Fellow of Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, Vice President of Canadian Consortium on Asia Pacific Security, Board Member of Canadian Association of Asian Studies, Leader of Energy and Resources Research Group of Canada’s Emerging Dynamic Global Economies Network (EDGE), and a BusinessWeek online columnist. Dr. Jiang is frequently invited to speak at major energy conferences in Canada and around the world, and has organized a number of large energy conferences between Canada and China in the past three years. He is a major contributor to Jamestown Foundation’s China Brief, and his op-ed articles and opinions on East Asia and energy issues appear regularly in the world media. Dr. Jiang’s recent publications in the energy area include Fueling the Dragon: China’s Energy Demand and Its Implications for Canada, forthcoming. “China and India Come to Latin America for Energy” book chapter in Energy Cooperation in the Western Hemisphere, edited by Sydney Weinbraub, Center for Security and International Studies, Washington, D.C., 2006. “Developing Canada’s China Strategy” book chapter in Canada Among Nations 2006, edited by Andrew Cooper and Dane Rowlands, McGill- Queen’s University Press, 2006. “China’s energy relations with Latin America,” Geopolitics of Energy, Vol. 28, No. 8, August 2006; “China’s booming energy ties with Africa,” Geopolitics of Energy, Vol. 28, No. 7, July 2006. “China makes a ‘great leap outward’ in regional diplomacy,” International Journal, LXI, No. 2, Spring 2006. China’s Quest for Energy Security: Implications for North America, CANCAPS Paper, No. 40, February 2006. Fueling the Dragon: China’s Quest for Energy Security and Canada’s Opportunities, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, Canada in Asia series, April 2005.