Africa has become the second-largest recipient of credit from India as the country tries to catch up with China in expanding its influence in the resource-rich continent.

A total of 42 African nations received about $12 billion, or 38%, of all credit extended by India in the last decade — just a few percentage points below its neighbors, Harsha Bangari, the managing director of India’s Export Import Bank said in an interview.

The bank is an instrument of India’s "economic diplomacy,” Bangari said, adding that the South Asian nation has also opened up 195 project-based lines of credit across Africa, three times the number it has in its own region in the last decade.