The AAGC (Asia Africa Groth Corridor) is sometimes misunderstood as a competition and an oppositional vision intended to counterbalance China’s One Belt, One Road initiative. However, both projects are pretty separate and have different intentions. Although the AAGC has an extensive geographic overlap with the route of the OBOR, the AAGC could also be qualified as a complement to the wide-ranging Belt & Road initiative – China has taken the lead in investing in Africa and India as Africa’s second-biggest trade partner will utilize AAGC to make up leeway.
The AAGC, unveiled in 2017, has been developed by India’s Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), Indonesia’s Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), and Japan’s Institute of Developing Economies (IDE-JETRO). According to the official documents, The AAGC would consist of four main components: development and cooperation projects, quality infrastructure and institutional connectivity, capacity and skill enhancement and people-to-people partnerships. Essentially a maritime corridor, these four pillars are complementary to promote growth and all round development in both the continents.
The RCEP, when realized will become the largest trade bloc in terms of population with nearly 3.5 billion people. It will also have an estimated 40% of world’s GDP and dominating 30% of global trade. It contains the three biggest economies of Asia – China, Indi, and Japan – as well as the AEC ASEAN Economic Community.
The main areas of development cooperation are agriculture, technology, health, and disaster management. The objective is to pursue joint initiatives in various sectors such as infrastructure, manufacturing, and connectivity, in keeping with the development priorities of Africa.
Currently, India is seeking to benefit mainly from Japanese expertise. “Japan Is Building India’s Infrastructure” is titled in international magazines. However, there are huge business opportunities for European and Asian corporations, especially if they do not participate in the belt & road project.