The European Commissions Africa strategy, published Monday, stresses the blocs top priorities including climate change and digital transformation.
The 18-page “comprehensive strategy with Africa” is intended as a roadmap for the pivot to Europes southern continental neighbor, being led by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who underscored the new focus by visiting the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia twice within her first 100 days in office.
EU leaders, including von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel, have pledged to forge a new relationship that treats Africa as an equal partner. They have said their goals include changing the perception of Europe in Africa as primarily a provider of development aid, and also moving past the uncomfortable legacy of colonialism that has long overshadowed relations.
“A part of Europes future is at stake in Africa. To face our common challenges, we need a strong Africa, and Africa needs a strong Europe,” said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.
But the document, presented Monday by Borrell and Jutta Urpilainen, the commissioner for international partnerships, perhaps risks treating Africa too equally. It elevates the EUs policy priorities over the top of concerns expressed by African leaders, particularly on security, infrastructure and implementing a new pan-African trade agreement.
In the strategy document the EU laid out five top priorities: green transition and energy access; digital transformation; sustainable growth and jobs; peace and governance; and migration and mobility.
For African nations, the order of those priorities differs. Many say peace and stability is the continents top concern, with a crucial need to develop local capacity for fighting terrorist groups and other threats, as part of a focus on “African solutions for African problems.” Beyond security, African Union leaders say they are focused on implementing the new _