According to Bloomberg, to compete with Chinese investment in Africa, the European Union is working on a $22.7 billion funding package to support African transport networks and projects in energy, digital, education, and health to counter China’s reach.
Before the funding package from the European Union, China’s debt-trap diplomacy continued in Africa through the Belt and Road Initiative as the country adopted a massive set of infrastructure, with high-interest rates that had to be repaid in a short time. Unfortunately, that has caused many African countries to fall into their vast debt trap.
The total debt African countries currently owe to China is around $145 billion, while the country’s contribution to investments in Africa in 2018 was about 28%, indicating inefficiencies. It is also controversial given the host governments’ corruption and debt sustainability challenges, underscoring that at least 18 African countries are renegotiating their debts with China.
The Global Gateway, a European effort to combat China’s big investment intentions in the continent, will get the majority of the funding under the EU plan. By 2027, the EU hopes to raise $170 billion from various sources.
According to a model of the package released by Bloomberg, the bloc’s strategy includes key corridors, international underwater cables, new energy connections, and investments in renewable energy in Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Morocco, and Kenya.
This new investment aims to solidify the new alliance that the EU and Africa want to accomplish at their meeting in Brussels on Feb. 17-18.
After months of strained vaccine and patent supply, as well as travel restrictions aimed at preventing the Covid-19 outbreak, the EU list contains roughly 60 initiatives geared to resume the connection.
Europe will also propose the construction of an international undersea fiber optic cable to connect the EU with Africa along the Atlantic coast and boost access to sustainable energy sources throughout the continent.
In addition, the EU will establish new security cooperation. According to the draft document, European countries would give military equipment in the following months as part of a more significant effort to strengthen Africa’s armed forces, “including materials designed to deliver lethal force trade.”
Another hot topic at next week’s meeting will be migration. The EU will spend $5 billion to combat human trafficking, enforce voluntary and forced returns, and improve border control. One of Europe’s demands is for Frontex, the border agency, to play a more vital role in African countries.