Something New Out of Africa? Chinese, US and EU Strategies for the Continent

22-04-2015

The seventh College-to-College meeting between the European Commission and the African Union Commission underscores the close cooperation between the European Union (EU) and Africa. Institutional and political relations have intensified in recent years, coinciding with a renewed international interest in an African continent whose economic growth in the past decade has been remarkably strong. The United States (US) and China have also recently strengthened their links with Africa. While these three actors frame their relations with Africa in different ways, their interests converge around two broad areas: i) Africa’s economic potential and the need to intensify trade and investment to generate economic growth and development; and ii) concerns about peace and security – and notably the threats posed by armed conflict and terrorist groups. In light of this renewed international interest and other important factors – including the expiry of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020 – the European Parliament should embark on an ambitious and strategic political reflection on the EU’s relations with Africa. Parliament should recognise both the potential and vulnerabilities of the continent, as well as the EU’s own varied interests across policy areas. Alongside other actors, including the US and China, Parliament should also work to ensure that Africa finds its due place in the changing international order.

The seventh College-to-College meeting between the European Commission and the African Union Commission underscores the close cooperation between the European Union (EU) and Africa. Institutional and political relations have intensified in recent years, coinciding with a renewed international interest in an African continent whose economic growth in the past decade has been remarkably strong. The United States (US) and China have also recently strengthened their links with Africa. While these three actors frame their relations with Africa in different ways, their interests converge around two broad areas: i) Africa’s economic potential and the need to intensify trade and investment to generate economic growth and development; and ii) concerns about peace and security – and notably the threats posed by armed conflict and terrorist groups. In light of this renewed international interest and other important factors – including the expiry of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020 – the European Parliament should embark on an ambitious and strategic political reflection on the EU’s relations with Africa. Parliament should recognise both the potential and vulnerabilities of the continent, as well as the EU’s own varied interests across policy areas. Alongside other actors, including the US and China, Parliament should also work to ensure that Africa finds its due place in the changing international order.