44,000 million from EU to slow down China in Africa

44,000 million from EU to slow down China in Africa

Source: El País
19/12/2018

Although Europe is still the first global investor in Africa, China has created a plan for Africa and is moving faster and faster. That Chinese hyperactivity in the continent forces European leaders to promote economic flows to the region as a diplomatic tool against migratory movements.

More than 50 European and African leaders and a similar number of representatives of the private sector met in Vienna to “change the narrative”, in the words of the Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, and to promote a relationship less oriented to the migratory conflict. The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, argued at the beginning of the conference that this summit was not intended to deal with migrations, but to establish a relationship of equals between the two continents.

Even so, the migratory pressure suffered by the EU countries was noted throughout the meeting. “There are profound causes that explain that part of our youth wants to reach Europe. But we cannot approach this phenomenon because of its consequences, but because of its causes”, said Moussa Faki Mahamat, president of the African Union Commission, the organization that includes 55 members of the continent.

To try to combat the causes that motivate the exodus to European countries, the EU has launched a private investment plan with public money, which includes mobilizing 44,000 million Euros until 2020. Juncker announced that 37,000 million of that total amount is already assigned to projects. The public launch mechanism of this instrument, however, is very limited: only 4,500 million Euros, which are granted in the form of loans, guarantees and also some subsidies to companies interested in expanding in Africa.

“Is not sufficient; we have to do much more”, said the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, in conversation with EL PAÍS. Referring to the announcement made last September by Chinese President Xi Jinping that his country will allocate 60 billion Euros in the form of assistance, loans and guarantees to projects based in Africa, Tajani suggested that “Europe should aspire to at least that”.

The EU concentrates so far 40% of investments in the continent (291,000 million Euros in 2017, according to data from the European Commission) and the EU countries are its main trading partner (243,000 million Euros in exchanges also last year). “We Europeans are investing, but the Chinese increase investment faster,” said Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell.