China’s approach winning more friends in Africa

THE TWO-DAY European Union-Africa Summit ended on a high note in Lisbon on Sunday with the signing of an accord promoting democracy and free trade.

The summit has been widely seen as an attempt by Europe to regain lost economic and political influence in Africa to China, India and South Korea.

The EU-Africa Strategic Partnership document, to be signed later, will outline joint policy aims in areas such as security, development, climate change and good governance.

However, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, addressing the 80 delegates at the summit, warned that “Europe had almost lost the race for influence in Africa”.

He also criticised European leaders for trying to pressure African countries into signing new trade deals, adding that China’s approach was “winning more friends”.

By that he meant that China was prepared to invest in Africa without interfering in local politics, being moralistic or placing human rights conditions as part of the bargain.

Africa and the EU are also in disagreement over proposed import taxes placed on African states despite the accord’s focus on free trade which the World Trade Organisation wants to put an end to at the end of this year.

African governments say the new trade agreements and tax regimes would be unfair because they will not be able to compete fairly against subsidised European goods.

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