EU Loan Package Bids to Counter China’s Reach in Africa

The scramble for colonies in Africa is over, but the scramble among the great powers to own Africa’s debt is rising to a new level. At stake is whether China or the European Union will dominate the continent owning seven of the 20 fastest growing economies of the world and rapidly urbanizing regions. The European Union and the African Union signed a $170 billion development package on Feb. 25—a move seen by critics as a last-ditch effort to counter growing Chinese influence in Africa. “Never before has Europe had a global investment strategy, and never before have we put on the table such a sizeable and ambitious package with Africa,” said Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president, who promised “transformative results.” President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen (L), Senegal’s president and African Union chair Macky Sall (2L), president of the European Council Charles Michel (2R), and France’s President Emmanuel Macron (R) at the opening session of the summit. (Yves Herman/Pool/AFP) The multibillion package is the first regional plan of the European Union’s Global Gateway—an investment blueprint that seeks to mobilize up to €300 billion ($328 billion) for public and private infrastructure around the world by 2027. The new Africa investment plan, covering transport networks, energy, digital, education, and health projects is the EU’s counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which also seeks to develop infrastructure globally. “There is no doubt that the Global Gateway is an attempt to counter China’s influence in the region, but the challenge lies in whether this is actually real investment from the EU, or simply the hope that existing aid money can be leveraged to spur private investment. Early indications suggest the latter,” David McNair, executive director at ONE.org. and founding executive board member of the Africa Europe Foundation told The Epoch Times in an email. “China has invested heavily in Africa and has acted fast in building infrastructure for a continent that can’t afford to wait,” he said. “Proponents suggest that China is responsive to requests from African countries. Critics say the contracts are designed to build China’s influence and don’t create enough jobs for Africans. “But the demand and the opportunities are significant—the biggest risk is that the United States and Europe fail to realize its opportunities,” McNair wrote. Africa this year is facing economic competition from Europe, China, and the United States. China’s $1 trillion Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has made Africa the largest regional component of its effort to reset global commerce. Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission, in his address at the Sixth Africa-European Union Summit. (Courtesy of AU web page) At the G7 summit in June 2021, President Joe Biden launched the Build Back Better World initiative intended to coax African countries to build more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable economies after COVID-19. “It’s not a colonial-era scramble for Africa as, fortunately, African countries have far more power to determine their own fates than they did during the true scramble for Africa,” Joshua Meservey, senior policy analyst for Africa and the Middle East at the Heritage Foundation, told The Epoch Times in an email. “The average African should hope for more Western involvement in their countries, since the foreign policy goals of democratic countries are more likely, if realized, to result in better outcomes for them. “If you’re a corrupt African elite, then you want more Chinese involvement since you have a much better chance of personally benefiting from their engagement,” he said. Africa could therefore win significant gains if its leaders navigate the competition of outside powers wisely with the determination to maximize the benefit for their own countries. “African leaders realize that they have options, that every partner brings their own agenda, and that there are risks and benefits of partnering with each,” said McNair of ONE.org. “Ensuring that investment in infrastructure happens fast enough to keep up with Africa’s demographic boom, avoiding the risks of debt distress is critical. But perhaps the greatest risk is becoming too dependent on one partner. “Europe is focused on the fight against climate change, which is a major threat for the African continent, but also an opportunity to spur investment and job creation in green technology. “African leaders will increase their bargaining power if they act together rather than bilaterally.” But none are in for the long-term good of Africa as they all have “the basic same mentality,” according to Kevin Jessip, founder of Global Strategic Alliance. “I simply do not trust the leader globalists in the EU as they are no better than China in that their interest is in a one-world government and not in meeting the real felt needs of the African people.” African leaders wish to overt

EU Loan Package Bids to Counter China’s Reach in Africa

The scramble for colonies in Africa is over, but the scramble among the great powers to own Africa’s debt is rising to a new level.

At stake is whether China or the European Union will dominate the continent owning seven of the 20 fastest growing economies of the world and rapidly urbanizing regions.

The European Union and the African Union signed a $170 billion development package on Feb. 25—a move seen by critics as a last-ditch effort to counter growing Chinese influence in Africa.

“Never before has Europe had a global investment strategy, and never before have we put on the table such a sizeable and ambitious package with Africa,” said Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president, who promised “transformative results.”

Epoch Times Photo
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen (L), Senegal’s president and African Union chair Macky Sall (2L), president of the European Council Charles Michel (2R), and France’s President Emmanuel Macron (R) at the opening session of the summit. (Yves Herman/Pool/AFP)

The multibillion package is the first regional plan of the European Union’s Global Gateway—an investment blueprint that seeks to mobilize up to €300 billion ($328 billion) for public and private infrastructure around the world by 2027.

The new Africa investment plan, covering transport networks, energy, digital, education, and health projects is the EU’s counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which also seeks to develop infrastructure globally.

“There is no doubt that the Global Gateway is an attempt to counter China’s influence in the region, but the challenge lies in whether this is actually real investment from the EU, or simply the hope that existing aid money can be leveraged to spur private investment. Early indications suggest the latter,” David McNair, executive director at ONE.org. and founding executive board member of the Africa Europe Foundation told The Epoch Times in an email.

China has invested heavily in Africa and has acted fast in building infrastructure for a continent that can’t afford to wait,” he said.

“Proponents suggest that China is responsive to requests from African countries. Critics say the contracts are designed to build China’s influence and don’t create enough jobs for Africans.

“But the demand and the opportunities are significant—the biggest risk is that the United States and Europe fail to realize its opportunities,” McNair wrote.

Africa this year is facing economic competition from Europe, China, and the United States.

China’s $1 trillion Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has made Africa the largest regional component of its effort to reset global commerce.

Epoch Times Photo
Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission, in his address at the Sixth Africa-European Union Summit. (Courtesy of AU web page)

At the G7 summit in June 2021, President Joe Biden launched the Build Back Better World initiative intended to coax African countries to build more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable economies after COVID-19.

“It’s not a colonial-era scramble for Africa as, fortunately, African countries have far more power to determine their own fates than they did during the true scramble for Africa,” Joshua Meservey, senior policy analyst for Africa and the Middle East at the Heritage Foundation, told The Epoch Times in an email.

“The average African should hope for more Western involvement in their countries, since the foreign policy goals of democratic countries are more likely, if realized, to result in better outcomes for them.

“If you’re a corrupt African elite, then you want more Chinese involvement since you have a much better chance of personally benefiting from their engagement,” he said.

Africa could therefore win significant gains if its leaders navigate the competition of outside powers wisely with the determination to maximize the benefit for their own countries.

“African leaders realize that they have options, that every partner brings their own agenda, and that there are risks and benefits of partnering with each,” said McNair of ONE.org.

“Ensuring that investment in infrastructure happens fast enough to keep up with Africa’s demographic boom, avoiding the risks of debt distress is critical. But perhaps the greatest risk is becoming too dependent on one partner.

“Europe is focused on the fight against climate change, which is a major threat for the African continent, but also an opportunity to spur investment and job creation in green technology.

“African leaders will increase their bargaining power if they act together rather than bilaterally.”

But none are in for the long-term good of Africa as they all have “the basic same mentality,” according to Kevin Jessip, founder of Global Strategic Alliance.

“I simply do not trust the leader globalists in the EU as they are no better than China in that their interest is in a one-world government and not in meeting the real felt needs of the African people.”

African leaders wish to overturn the China Belt & Road initiative, as it is creating an unsustainable debt issue while enslaving the people of Africa.

“China will then rape the nation for its mineral rights and other natural resources,” Jessip told The Epoch Times.

Africa is developing a diversity of partnerships “that do not have the same history, nor the same scope as that of our partnership with Europe,” said Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission at the summit.

“These new partnerships are no less relevant and beneficial for Africa and, from this point of view, are worthy of respect and consideration,” he said without giving further details.

“What Africa actually needs is economically productive infrastructure honestly procured,” Meservey of the Heritage Foundation said.

Because Chinese companies and African governments frequently hide the details of their dealings together, it’s impossible to know whether the projects meet that standard.”

“There is good reason to fear that at least some do not. There are frequent reports of overpriced Chinese projects and tenders awarded to Chinese companies in violation of procurement laws. African taxpayers are then left on the hook,” Meservey told The Epoch Times.

Earlier this month, the Federal Government of Nigeria said it was “stuck with lots of projects … because the Chinese are no longer funding.”

“We are now pursuing money in Europe,” transport minister Rotimi Amaechi told local media.

But Jessip feels “China is very serious about Africa and therefore this is a huge problem for both the US and Europe.”

“China in its long view has been very patient and methodical in its approach through its various unrestricted warfare strategies and so both the US and the EU are coming from a bad position.”


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Nalova Akua is a Cameroonian multimedia freelance journalist.