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Irish Times view on EU-Africa ties: envisioning a new paradigm


Friday, 21 September 2018

Irish Times view on EU-Africa ties: envisioning a new paradigm

Strategic thinking is evident in the plan announced by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker for an Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Development and Jobs. It proposes a 25 per cent increase in EU spending on Africa to €40 billion, concentrating on education, freer trade and infrastructure, alongside ambitious financing of employment creation by small and medium-sized firms. Africa’s population is set to double this century so it makes sense that Europe, its most powerful and richest neighbour, should do all it can to ensure most of its people can find sustainable jobs there. The plan has been developed with the African Union and signals a radical deepening of relations between the two regional bodies. Their engagement is being overhauled in line with a new EU emphasis on working with and not for Africa, in a promised transition from aid to mutual development policies. Europe is Africa’s largest trading and investment partner but faces increasing competition from China. That is a welcome development for many African governments, which complain about difficult access to European markets and onerous conditions for its help. This initiative must be accompanied with a comprehensive review of existing policies in preparation for a longer term co-operative approach.

Source: irishtimes.com