Battling for Africa’s Wealth
Gaborone – China and India will undercut Europe’s access to African resources should the European Union (EU) continue to pursue an Economic Partnership Agreement agenda that strains political ties with the continent.
This is the view of a senior researcher at the Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA), Professor Roman Grynberg.
Speaking at the EU-SADC Economic Partnership Agreement two-day workshop in Gaborone, Botswana last week, Prof Grynberg said Europe must develop a Pan-African post-economic strategy, and move to a more robust, mercantilist and private sector-driven approach.
The workshop presented an opportunity to explain what has been negotiated and to exchange views on what is included in the current EU-SADC Economic Partnership Agreement.
“EU has to accept that EPA has been a failure (this is unlikely ‑ too many careers and egos at stake).
“They are signed under enormous pressure and have served to worsen the political position of Europe in Africa and the Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP) as a whole,” Prof Grynberg said.
He advised the EU to learn from China to help provide fiscal incentives for its investors in Africa, provide effective European Investment Bank support to help develop infrastructure, and provide cheap loans to investors.
“If Africa does not help Europe off this narrow free market path of the EPAs, then in a decade Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) firms/state-owned enterprises will control value chains and the EU will not have access to African resources,” warned Prof Grynberg.
There are indications that the EU told the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) bloc in 2002 that it would support development and regional integration and would prepare a “development agreement” to this end.
Prof Grynberg said this dishonest indication by the EU created the false impression among ACP states that the EU would, in the spirit of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, provide generous free trade arrangements.