India hosts biggest Africa summit; plays catchup with China

India hosts its biggest-ever Africa summit this week as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to challenge China’s dominance on a continent that is blessed with vast natural resources and has the world’s fastest-growing population.

New Delhi wants to project its soft power and historical ties to Africa, in contrast to China’s focus on resource extraction and capital investment that has sparked a backlash in some countries against Beijing’s mercantilist expansion.

Of the 54 countries invited, the hosts expect more than 40 to be represented by their heads of state and government who, after a series of ministerial meetings, will hold a full summit on Thursday.

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