The European Union wants to attract and double Africa

The European Union wants to attract and double Africa

Globally, in these times of growing geopolitical competition and fierce rivalries with China and Russia, the European Union wants to attract Africa to its side and double its presence on the neighboring continent.

The European Union wants to strengthen its relationship with Africa

The European Union and the African Union summit brought together nearly 70 heads of state and government on both sides of the Mediterranean in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, culminating in a joint declaration celebrating the “renewed partnership for solidarity”. , security, peace and sustainable economic development ”and promises of large-scale investment in all sectors, from energy to vaccines, including the latest satellite Internet connection technology.

In the financial context, the new communion of interests is born with an attractive investment package under its arm, of 150,000 million euros by 2027. The amount is a large part of the Global Gateway program, launched in December by Brussels to finance physical infrastructure. and technology in different parts of the globe and to counter the Chinese Silk Road program, with which Beijing has gained a foothold in Africa over the past two decades.

However, after it was presented, this investment package was harshly criticized for its lack of specificity and for not containing significant amounts. There was even a famous article in “The Economist” on this topic, entitled “Why bullshit rules in Brussels” which could be elegantly translated as “Why the farce reigns in Brussels”.

“The European Union is Africa’s largest trading partner and largest investor,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a post-summit appearance. The German leader emphasized that it was no coincidence that the African plan was the first in the new European investment strategy and also stressed the commitment to donate 450 million doses of Covid vaccines this summer; To date, around 150,000 have been delivered, although everyone in Brussels is aware of the logistical challenge and the fight against misinformation, which means that these vaccines are not only reaching countries but also reaching the arms of Africans. The EU and the AU have also agreed to seek a compromise solution on a possible lifting of the intellectual property of vaccines, writes El Pais.

New relationship with the EU, “new software”

For his part, Senegalese President and AU leader Macky Sall described the new relationship with the EU not as an update to the operating system, but as “new software”, as he said in his inaugural speech on Thursday. His words were a powerful response to the great values ​​and principles – and even aspirational African proverbs – that European leaders used in their speeches. Sall said he left the summit “with something concrete.”

Today, the AU leader recalled that 600 million Africans, half the continent’s population, live without access to electricity. He estimated Africa’s financing needs in the range of 130,000 to 170,000 million dollars a year (from 115,000 to 150,000 million euros) and called for investment in roads, trains, ports, airports and power plants.

“Energy is something that interests us,” he said. He also expressed interest in the European high-speed internet connectivity project with a new constellation of low-orbit satellites, which Brussels unveiled this week. “It’s something you might be able to share with Africa,” he said.

Therefore, the Summit – the sixth of its kind between the EU and the AU – took place two years late due to the pandemic and the current situation, marked by maximum tension with Russia. Tensions with the Kremlin managed to overshadow this meeting. On Thursday, just before meeting with African leaders, the 27 took advantage of the fact that they were in Brussels and organized a very short European Council to analyze the evolution of the crisis in Ukraine and to review the package of possible sanctions.