Several large as well as medium sized Indian companies have undertaken outbound investments and offshore acquisitions in the last decade. These have primarily been in developed markets such as the United States or in various European countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany and so on.
The year 2008 has witnessed the emergence of a new phenomenon, whereby Indian companies are seen scouting in Africa for potential investments and acquisitions. Indeed, Africa is a continent that is flush with natural resources, although not all of them have been put to optimal use. Apart from that, China has already obtained a head-start by making investments and forging alliances in various African countries, and Indian companies would certainly not like to find themselves in a position of having lost out on opportunities to its key competitor, China. Africa also presents itself as a large market for Indian goods and services, that makes it attractive for Indian companies.
This phenomenon is covered by The Economist in two of its articles. The first, The Indians are coming, examines the general trade and investment scenario between India and various African countries. The second, Eyes on Africa, discusses the specific transaction involving the potential acquisition of a stake by India’s Bharti Airtel in MTN, Africa’s largest mobile-phone operator.