Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Reuters

In a budge to deepen its economic ties with Africa, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is on a six days long visit to Africa from Monday. India, trying to emerge from the shadow of rival China, is offering $5 billion to help the African continent rich with minerals and commodities, Reuters reported.

In an attempt to catch up with Beijing's growing influence on the continent, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh proclaimed India's ties with Africa at an India-Africa summit in Addis Ababa on Tuesday.

Emerging economies - India and China are scouring the globe to secure energy resources, minerals and food. Both are keen on betterment of ties with African nations, trying to boost friendship by more than just being trade partners and voluntarily helping the continent develop.

India is trying to increase its presence on the continent as well as getting African support for its proposition to be a permanent member in the U.N. Security Council, as the body is reformed to include emerging powers and developing nations. However, China, which is flourishing in the telecoms technology is investing in the energy sector, and is occupied with building infrastructure.

There is a new economic growth story emerging from Africa. Africa possesses all the prerequisites to become a major growth pole of the world, Singh told a gathering of African Union leaders in a speech in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, reported Reuters.

The India-Africa partnership is unique and owes its origins to history and our common struggle against colonialism, apartheid, poverty, disease, illiteracy and hunger, he added.

As far as investments in the oil firms are concerned, India's state-run oil firms are beginning to invest in countries including Nigeria and Kenya, while China has invested billions of dollars into Sudanese oil, mineral-rich Zimbabwe, and Zambia's mining sector, among other countries.

Singh, during this visit is pledging development support for Africa in exchange for trade agreements to fuel growth in India's resource-intensive economy, and boost the presence of Asia's third-largest economy which lags China in the world's poorest continent.

We will offer $5 billion dollars for the next three years under lines of credit to help Africa achieve its development goals, Singh said. In January 2010, India had said it would increase credit lines to Africa to $5.4 billion until 2012 from $2.15 billion, the report stated.

Singh will travel on Thursday to Tanzania, where Delhi has also invested heavily during the past few years. It is the first time that the leaders of India and Africa are meeting on such a scale on African soil, he said.