african trade PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images

The Untapped Potential of EU-Africa Trade

If the EU is to seize the economic opportunities that Africa offers, it will need to work with the continent’s leaders to forge a new kind of partnership that treats African countries as equals. Simply put, the new EU-Africa relationship must be based on trade, not aid.

CAPE TOWN – China’s use of trade and investment links to expand its influence in Africa is fueling growing concern in some European capitals. But, instead of complaining about China’s activities, the European Union should be deepening its own engagement with the continent.

In recent years, the EU has been actively seeking to secure new trade and investment opportunities around the world. As of July 2018, the EU was engaged in negotiations for 21 free-trade agreements. This includes talks initiated in the last seven years with six ASEAN countries – Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam – which could pave the way for a future deal with the entire region.

The EU has also initiated talks with New Zealand and Australia. And it recently concluded comprehensive free-trade agreements with Armenia, Canada, Japan, and Vietnam, as well as a standalone investment agreement with China.

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