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Afrique, un partenariat égal (document en anglais)

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Par   •  15 Octobre 2013  •  Lettre type  •  728 Mots (3 Pages)  •  546 Vues

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Trade with Africa will be a key component of Europe's future growth, the European commission president, José Manuel Barroso said this week. In his opening speech at the Africa-EU summit, he announced: "We have come to Tripoli with the fascinating long-term perspective of a Euro-African economic area in mind – an area which will provide opportunities for 2.5 billion citizens by 2050."

The Tripoli summit follows the 2007 meeting of European and African governments, which changed the tone of talks between the continents, introducing key phrases such as a "partnership of equals" and promises to move beyond the traditional "donor-recipient relationship".

Then, as now, the EU stressed the future financial dividends of establishing a strategic political partnership between the continents. And EU officials made little effort to hide their anxieties over the growing presence of China in Africa.

"It is in the self-interest of the EU to keep a strategic partnership, not just for solidarity with Africa," said Barroso this week. "Africa is going to be a large market. This is an opportunity for Europe to find sources of growth."

In the runup to the Tripoli talks, a "special Eurobarometer poll" reported that over three-quarters of Europeans agree that Africa's strategic importance will either persist or grow over the next decade.

The German foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, stressed: "We want to be there when this continent develops economically." The Tripoli Declaration, along with the second Joint Africa-EU Action Plan, sets out the next two years of political commitments for the partnership between the two continents.

The EU renewed its commitment to increase aid spending, reaffirming its pledge to reach the target of 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) by 2015, and projected that more than €50bn in aid money would flow to Africa over the next three years. Europe also pledged to support Africa in its bid to gain a permanent seat at the UN security council.

Summit talks also focused on the role of trade and the private sector in securing Africa's development. Barroso, for example, highlighted trade in energy and clean energy innovations – including wind and solar power – as potentially lucrative sources of development funding, building on the Africa-EU renewable energy co-operation programme, launched in Vienna this September.

However, Europe's rosy image of its future in Africa could be jeopardised by the summit's failure to resolve the elusive trade talks between the continents. Differences remain on the economic partnership agreements (EPAs) proposed to replace the current trade arrangements. The EPAs would institutionalise the EU's call for developing countries to liberalise their economies and open up their markets to European goods.

EU officials maintain that their prerogative is to reconsider the way aid is administered, moving beyond the parameters of traditional aid policy.

"In some countries the impact of trade, and environment, industrial, security and migration policies have a far greater impact on development than all the money you can mobilise," said Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, the European commission's acting head of development.

But one of Africa's concerns is that deregulating its markets


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