PARIS - The European Union outlined Monday a new partnership with Africa that seeks to build a more equal relationship between the two sides.
The strategy is still in the bare-bones stage. Many details still need filling in, including financial ones. European Union officials said they will be looking for feedback from African counterparts in the run-up to an EU-Africa summit later this year.
But the EU’s executive arm has outlined five key focus areas — transitioning to and accessing green energy; the digital transformation; sustainable growth and jobs; peace security and governance; and migration and mobility.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said overall, the bloc wants to scale up its partnership with Africa and make it more effective.
“We have geopolitical interests in Africa. Our growth and security depends on what happens in Africa, maybe more than in any other part of the world,” Borrell said.
While the EU is not always seen as a financial heavyweight in Africa, the 27-member bloc together is the source of more than $250 billion in foreign investment on the continent, compared to $48 billion from the United States, and $43 billion from China.
Borrell said current European support also includes helping African nations cope with the global coronavirus outbreak, and more broadly strengthening their health systems.
Reuters reports that some aid agencies worry European efforts to staunch migration risked undermining the bloc’s new partnership strategy.
But that was not the message Brussels sent out Monday.
Borrell said the EU’s new strategy aimed not to see Africa simply within the prism of migration. He said while it was necessary to fight against illegal migration, legal migration should turn into a win-win for both sides.