Global Europe: Is the EU serious about engaging with Africa?

The EU and African Union seek to make up for the time lost in 2020 by accelerating talks on a new strategic partnership covering political and economic cooperation. But some are asking whether the EU’s plan to strike a strategic partnership with Africa has become a “victim” of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the field of competitors for investing in Africa becomes more crowded, the EU will quickly have to improve its offer if it wants to succeed in maintaining its position as the “priority partner”. The Portuguese government, holders of the current six-month rotating EU presidency, is taking an active part in preparing the 6th EU-African Union Summit and is anxious to conclude a mutually fruitful partnership by the summer.

There is however some scepticism among African politicians, businesses and civil society leaders that the rhetoric about partnership will be backed up. There has been some concern, particularly from civil society groups in Africa and Europe, that the EU executive has driven the agenda for the planned strategic partnership through the prism of the EU’s interests.

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