Africa’s Ties With Europe Should Be Shaped by African Agency

Africa’s Ties With Europe Should Be Shaped by African Agency
The family portrait at a joint African Union and European Union ministerial meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, Oct. 26, 2021 (Belga/Sipa photo by Hatim Kaghat via AP Images).

The sixth leaders’ summit between the African Union and European Union will finally take place this week in Brussels, following several postponements due to the coronavirus pandemic. Traditionally occurring every three years, the summit was initially scheduled for 2020.

The AU-EU summit is often touted as the ideal venue for European and African elites to discuss issues of mutual concern. But this one is particularly significant, as it provides the opportunity for both sides to unpack the new EU strategy directed toward Africa, which was launched in 2020.

Beyond the strategy, however, the EU also just launched the 300 billion euro Global Gateway initiative in December 2021, coinciding with the Eighth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, or FOCAC. The timing was no fluke. The Global Gateway, of which European Commission President Angela von der Leyen just earmarked 150 billion euros for Africa, is a direct rival to China’s $1.3 trillion global infrastructure investment program, the Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI. Like the BRI, the Global Gateway will fund infrastructure development and investment, with its initial time horizon projected to run through 2027. But it will also be used to promote norms and values such as democracy, good governance and transparency, as well as green governance, all to boost private sector investment. There is also an increased focus on green solutions, ostensibly to mitigate the impacts of climate change. This new, more pragmatic approach in the EU’s external relations underlines the idea of a “geopolitical commission” under von der Leyen

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review