The European Union view with concern the progress of China in the world. His closeness with Vladimir Putintheir business in Latin America and his confrontation with USA are some of the best-known examples that have set off alarm bells in the international community.
However, a fourth aspect -less considered by most people- is the one that has most disturbed the bloc.
It is about Beijing’s influence in Africa, especially after the launch of the “Belt and Road Initiative”, one of the central pieces of the regime’s foreign policy, with which it seeks to expand its dominance throughout the world.
Part of the maneuvers contemplated by this initiative is invest in poor countries -although very rich in resources- that, by defaulting on their payments, they are left drowning in huge debts. It is then that the regime proceeds to take advantage of your weakness and seize their assets.
These contracts have positioned China as one of the main investors in the continentwith sums that go up to 155,000 million dollars distributed in 44 countries.
That is why, in order to stop the red advance on the continent, the European Union announced in 2021 the “Global Gateway” investment program, which has a budget of up to 300,000 million euros to be allocated to the development of key sectors in the region.
The special representative of the EU for the Sahel, the former Italian deputy Emanuela Del ReHe commented that promoting European values of freedom and democracy is the “only way” to undermine Beijing.
“The only way in which the EU can offset that weight is with good policies and insisting that Europe is the natural partner of African countries. We have to believe in ourselves more: we carry values, we respect individual rights and we promote prosperity,” she continued.
To achieve this, the project proposes a growth target with a view to 2027 -in some cases it extends to 2030-, focused on five priority axes: the digital industry; he climate and the energy; he transport; the health; and the education and the investigation.
Of this, the sights are set, mainly, on the economy and technological development, pillars of sustainable growth on the continent.
For example, the EU promotes a economic integration process by means of a african continental free trade area as the only continental trade and investment system, based on solid regulatory frameworks.
The European Commission supported the initiative with an additional investment of 630 million euros and another 24 million co-financed with France, Germany and Sweden -as part of Team Europe-.
Work is also done on strengthening regional value chainstaking advantage of said commercial space.
Another fundamental edge is that of inclusive economies, which aims to increase the contribution of the private sector to growth and African economic transformation.
through the Economic and Investment Plan for the Southern Neighborhoodthe European bloc works for promote sustainable trade and investment in higher value-added sectors as well as reach a higher degree of professional training in the region and more youth entrepreneurship initiatives.
Sustainable value chains of mineral raw materials is another of the pillars addressed by the European Union, which is already working with resource-rich countries in order to develop bilateral partnerships in key thematic areas that, using the aforementioned advances, allow countries diversify their economies and create local added value.
Punctually, the block works on the project “The Great Green Wall”which covers an extension of almost 8,000 kilometers along the Sahel, where it is planned to expand the arable land.
As a result, Africa could enter the global frameworkno longer as a hostage of Beijing but as a supplier of raw materials and a key player in sustainable global value chains.
Lastly, the EU expressed its commitment to improve resources in science, technology, innovation and research, proper and essential for development in current times.
Del Re acknowledges that these goals are ambitious And they represent hard work, unlike Xi Jinping’s proposals, which often include quick investments and a favorable initial scenario. However, he insisted on the B side of these approaches and asked the locals to focus their efforts on the “Stronger” European Tiesinstead of the “suffering” of China.
“We have to admit that China offers opportunities that completely exclude certain restrictions such as decent working conditions, human rights, transparent contracts… and it is something that we cannot compromise,” he explained.
The EU representative also referred to a second actor on the African continent that worries the partners. Is about Russia which, although traditionally strong in the region due to its support for independence processeshas changed “radically” by developing a policy of disinformation and promotion of “a vision of the world that damages the global”.
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