News / Europe

Europe Pledges Peacekeepers, Trade Ties for Africa

Europe Pledges Peacekeepers, Trade Ties for Africai
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 03, 2014 9:46 PM
African and European leaders wrapped up a two-day summit in Brussels Thursday aimed at improving trade ties. But the talks were overshadowed by the worsening crisis in the Central African Republic. Chad announced it was pulling its 850 soldiers out of the African peacekeeping mission there, even as the Europeans promised to send more troops. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Henry Ridgwell
— African and European Union leaders have wrapped up a two-day summit aimed at improving trade ties, but the talks in Brussels were overshadowed by the worsening crisis in the Central African Republic.  

Over the past 10 days, U.N. officials say more than 60 people have been killed in sectarian violence in the Central African Republic capital, Bangui.  Recent violence there and in other C.A.R. cities has prompted tens of thousands of Muslims to flee their communities.

The European Union announced Wednesday it would deploy more troops alongside the 2,000 French soldiers and 6,000 African peacekeepers already in the country.   But on Thursday, Chad said it is pulling its 850 peacekeepers out of the country, following accusations that the troops have sided with Muslims and Muslim rebels being attacked by the largely Christian anti-balaka militia.

Interim president of Central African Republic Catherine Samba-Panza welcomed the EU reinforcements.

"Throughout the military operation, the process of reconciliation must be strengthened, so the presence of the military force has no effect on the process of reconciliation," she said. "On the contrary, this process will be stronger under improved security."

The new deployment was agreed upon after several EU members offered last-minute financial and logistical help, says Alex Vines, the Africa program head of the London-based policy institute Chatham House.

“It is the right thing," said Vines. "But it shows the difficulties, because European politicians are thinking, ‘Well what is the exit strategy, how short can they be there?’”

As well as security, trade topped the summit agenda.  Many African countries brought large business delegations.  EU Council President Herman van Rompuy praised the changing relationship between Europe and Africa.

“More than 800 business and economic leaders committed to improve the business climate and foster investment in African countries.  A fundamental shift from aid to trade and investment as agents of growth and poverty reduction is taking place," said van Rompuy.

Moving from aid-based relationships to trade will require strong oversight, says ActionAid Zambia director Pamela Chisanga.

“If this trade is largely going to benefit the large multinationals who find their way into Africa, then obviously that is a problem.  While we look forward to increased trade, it must be fair trade," said Chisanga.

Africa’s economic growth is second only to Asia; European leaders say that rapid development requires an overhaul of the paternalistic relationships of the past.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in public More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid