The recently concluded High-Level African-Europe Forum held in Vienna, Austria with the theme: “Taking Cooperation to the Digital Age” is one that would no doubt leave the European delegates in attendance confused.
They will surely return to their hotel rooms asking themselves what was happening. It was an African-Europe Forum like no other before it.
There is no doubt that the European delegates were looking forward to the usual order of African leaders begging for increased funds and foreign aid to the region; but this time, it was the direct opposite.
African leaders on the podium were barking at their European counterparts to stop treating Africa as a pet project which they have to pity and provide for.
Speaking on the current struggle between Europe, America and Asia for dominance in Africa, which he condemned in strong terms, the Former Prime Minister of Chad and current Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Moussa Faki Mahamat, told the Europeans that Africa was not a commodity to be won by the highest bidder.
He said the so-called global superpowers could battle over other things and territories - but not Africa; because according to him, Africa cannot be 'infantilized'.
Speaking to the President of the European Council, Jean- Claude Juncker, and other European delegates in attendance, Mahamat said:
“Stop this stereotypical idea of Africa as a hapless terrain where Europe, China or others have free rein to battle for influence!
“We choose our partnerships and create conditions based on mutual interest and benefit. Do not infantilize an entire continent.”
President of Rwanda and African Union Chairman, Paul Kagame who alongside Austria’s Federal Chancellor and president of the Council of the European Union, Sebastian Kurz chaired the Forum, took a diplomatic approach.
In his speech, Kagame said Africa needed partnerships, not generosity.
He called for mutually beneficial partnerships between the two regions which according to him will be a win-win situation for both parties.
You will recall that last week, the United States of America released its policy for Africa which it termed “Prosper Africa’. In delivering the policy, the United States national security adviser, John Bolton accused China of increasing its dominance in Africa through shrewd deals and backdoor channels.
His statements further heightened the current struggle for Africa between Europe, America, the United Kingdom, and China.
Will the struggle for influence in Africa improve infrastructure on the continent?
It is no doubt a welcome development that African leaders now see through the façade, and are openly addressing the issue head-on.
This is a right step in the right direction, don’t you agree?
Kagame follows the footsteps of Nana Akufo-Addo; says Africa does not need Europe's ‘generosity’.
Header Image: The New Times
Source: Face2Face Africa