Business Today's Kushan Mitra travelled to Africa with a Ministry of External Affairs delegation and the continent left an indelible impression on him. He shares some snapshots from the Africa diary that not only shows intricacies of the continent but also throw some light on its relationship with India.
An Airtel advertisement right outside Kinshasa Airport. Step out of the airport complex and Indian visitors are greeted by a huge hoarding bearing the familiar red-and-white signage of Bharti Airtel, India's biggest phone firm.
The Indian Ambassador along with ITBP troops deputed to the UN in Kinshasa. It was nice to meet these soldiers who really seem to enjoy their year-long posting here.
The UN Headquarters in Kinshasa. Most of the Indian Army soldiers are seen hanging around beside members of the Pakistani Army here. Seen in the picture here Major Aman Luthra (R) along with other soldiers.
A Tata Motors showroom in Pretoria. Tata businesses in Africa also include telecom, hotels and others - all of which, at last count, totted up to some $600 million in revenues for the group.
The Mahindra offices at Centurion. Indian companies, be they in agriculture, telecom, retail, infrastructure or pharmaceuticals, see Africa as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. To be sure, companies such as Kirloskar and those from the Tata group have been operating, maybe relatively quietly, for decades
A Ministerial building in Kinshasa, those are Tata Buses parked outside. At around 600,000 vehicles a year, the South African car market is much smaller than India's, but Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra have found success.
A common sight on Indian roads, but this was in Kinshasa. Tata Motors have a great presence in the continent.
The width of the river Congo is amazing. It is one of the largest rivers in the world, but the crazy part about the river ride was not so much the river but the way to the docks through the streets of Kinshasa.
Construction on at full swing in Kinshasa, thanks to the Chinese. The Chinese have a $6 billion package of infrastructure building in place in DR Congo, in exchange for some of the richest copper mines yet to be excavated in the country. The Chinese are putting serious infrastructure in place in Kinshasa at least.
The Chinese try to sell some cars, but with these brand names we really don't think they'll do quite well.
A Kinshasa Brazzaville ferry packed to the rafters. Kinshasa and Brazzaville are the two closest capitals in the world. The ferries plying between the two capitals are filled to brim with humans, animals and smuggled produce, making the half-hour journey risky and memorable.
Everything is transported up the Congo river, even trucks.
Loading the Kinshasa Brazzaville ferries with everything from food to cement.
Another view of Kinshasa Port.
The view from the Presidential complex at Kinshasa overlooks Brazzaville.
Laurent Kabila's statue outside the Presidential Palace in Kinshasa. Kabila was known as the 'Lion of Africa' and was famous for his girth, a massive copper statue outside his mausoleum makes that rather apparent.
A brewery at Kinshasa. Kushan enjoyed a couple of local brews in Africa - Skol and Tembo. According to him, both were excellent beers.