Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Africa calls for a fair partnership with Europe

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Thursday, March 17th 2022 à 18:15 | Read 418 times

The Europe-Africa Forum did not avoid the problems in the relationship between the two continents (photo: F.Dubessy)
The Europe-Africa Forum did not avoid the problems in the relationship between the two continents (photo: F.Dubessy)
AFRICA / EU. "We see a lot of announcements, but there is no mechanism to confirm that the promises have been kept," says Carlos Lopes. For the economist, professor at the University of Cape Town and former executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, "it is not aid that will solve the problems. The real debate is about the opportunities for development of the African continent through investments that can also benefit European companies and Europe's growth."

The win/win situation, the new economic and financial deal with Africa, which seeks to dispel the taboo expression "development aid", was at the heart of the discussions at the Europe-Africa Forum. Organised in Marseille on Thursday 17 March 2022 by our colleague La Tribune, this event was in line with the priorities expressed by Emmanuel Macron as France prepared to take over the presidency of the Council of the European Union for six months.

"We need to further develop relations, at all levels, between the two continents", Franck Riester insisted in his introduction. A few weeks ago, on 15 February 2022, the Minister Delegate to the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs made this speech at the "Relance Export Tour Afrique " event, stating that "Africa is the future of Europe and Europe is the future of Africa. At the Europe-Africa Forum, he again stressed the role "played by Marseille for centuries in this rapprochement with Africa and the Mediterranean."

"We need another type of dialogue"

Franck Riester insisted on "the need to further develop relations between the two continents (photo: F.Dubessy)
Franck Riester insisted on "the need to further develop relations between the two continents (photo: F.Dubessy)
The famous economic and financial New Deal proposed to Africa by the European Union at the Brussels Summit (17 and 18 February 2022) makes Aminata Touré jump. "I am surprised that there is talk of a New Deal with Africa in 2022, when the relationship between Africa and Europe has lasted for centuries...". Acknowledging that her continent "has a huge need for funding", the former Senegalese Prime Minister is cautious. "The question is: what do we gain from a relationship with Europe? While reminding Africans that "they will be the actors of their own development", Aminata Touré asks Europe to "be an equitable partner" and to "change the way it looks at us, to drop the clichés about Africa and Africans". All the more so, she stresses, because "the world is now different. There is no longer the hegemonic position of Europe over Africa. We now have a choice with China, India...And these newcomers are more liquid than Europe!"

"We need a different type of dialogue," readily admits Jean Van Wetter, director general of Enabel, the Belgian development agency. "We are no longer in the business of development aid but in the common challenges that concern Africa and Europe. Together we can solve them". And to indicate, "African innovations do not yet exist in Europe."

Etienne Giros, deputy president of CIAN (French Council of Investors in Africa), recalls the need to "improve the business climate" and notes that "between an idea and the first dig, seven years pass, whereas investments in Africa are a race against time".The CIAN also advocates the creation of free trade zones on the African continent. "To create value, we need to expand markets," he said.

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