On March 9, 2020, the European Commission unveiled the main points of the EU strategy for Africa. According to this document, the Europe-Africa cooperation strategy will propose to African countries 5 partnerships on sustainable development, digitalization, employment, governance and mobility.
The approach defined by the European Union is global and aims to work in partnership with African countries for better regional integration in Africa to facilitate trade and investment between the two sides of the Mediterranean.
This new partnership proposal has been considered by some media as an attempt by the European Union to counter China’s growing influence on the African continent. But, this partnership is not a threat to China. On the contrary, this may create new cooperation with China, as argued by China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang. Mr. Geng said that China approved Africa’s willingness to diversify partnership and hoped that China and the European Union would strengthen their cooperation in Africa to fight against terrorism and global warming and to promote sustainable development. Geng Shuang stated the entire international community should be committed to peace and development in Africa.
European states including Italy and France are already working with China on cooperation projects in Africa. For example, within the framework of its participation in the Belt and Road initiative, Italy has pledged to support actions for sustainable development with China in third countries.
Regarding digitalization and green energies, China may offer a very in-depth expertise to the African continent; trilateral cooperation between the European Union, the African Union and China would offer prompt and efficient answer to challenges that threaten African countries.
The African continent will receive a great amount of attention from both China and the European Union in the coming months. In October 2020, two major African events will take place: the Africa-European Union summit as well as the next Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
Today, the Covid-19 crisis shows us that the European Union and China must continue to cooperate in Africa and elsewhere. In our ultra-connected world, we share the same destiny.