EU offers Africa a sweetener of more than R5tn under its Global Gateway policy

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Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission (L), and Emmanuel Macron, France's president, (R) and Charles Michel (2nd R), president of the European Council welcome African leaders within the European Union - African Union Summit in Brussels, Belgium on February 17, 2022.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission (L), and Emmanuel Macron, France's president, (R) and Charles Michel (2nd R), president of the European Council welcome African leaders within the European Union - African Union Summit in Brussels, Belgium on February 17, 2022.
Photo by EU Council / Pool/Anadolu Agency via Gett
  • The EU's Global Gateway will see Africa benefiting more than R5 trillion (€300 billion) for energy, infrastructure and governance.
  • Between 2014 and 2020, the bloc allocated at least €3 billion to sustainable energy in more than 30 African countries.
  • Critics view the Global Gateway as the EU's direct challenge to China's Belt and Road initiative introduced in 2013.

The President of the European Union Commission, Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen, has urged the European Union (EU) and African Union (AU) to work towards economic and social dynamism for the two continents.

The Belgian-born 58-year-old career politician and physician, who has been at the helm of the EU Commission since 2019, urged European and African leaders who gathered in Brussels for two days, to come up with plans that centre around "investing in people".

"I want to talk about the Global Gateway. Global Gateway is a strategy for investment in infrastructure and people. The most precious investment you can do is the investment in people. We want investment in quality infrastructure, connecting people and goods and services," she said.

The Global Gateway is the EU's strategy to boost smart, clean, and secure links in digital, energy, and transport sectors, and strengthen health, education, and research systems across the world. It was launched last year in December.

The initiative aims to mobilise more than R5 trillion (€300 billion) in investments in the next seven years to underpin a lasting global recovery, taking into account the EU's interests and that of its other partners across the world.

With that in mind, Von der Leyen said Africa would receive half of the R5.1 trillion purse over seven years.

READ | EU summit looks to boost strained ties with Africa

"We can expect a package of at least €150 billion for Africa in the next seven years. Now we need you to tell us what the needs are," she said.

The package will be for renewable energy, such as green hydrogen, road infrastructure, technology, and governance.

Speaking at the Europe Africa Business Forum event on Sustainable Energy on Wednesday, EUs Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, said Africa has great potential for renewable energy.

"It is even paradoxical: The African continent holds some of the world's best potential for new renewable energy and green hydrogen production, which could be leveraged to enhance productivity, create jobs, and improve lives," he said.

So far, the EU says that between 2014 and 2020, the bloc allocated at least 3 billion euros to sustainable energy in more than 30 African countries. This has counted for access to electricity for more than 20 million.

Critics see the €150 billion offered by the EU as a sweetener for Africa to have a rethink on China's Belt and Road initiative tabled in 2013.

The Chinese project is considered a centrepiece of president Xi Jinping's foreign policy. Since China has been investing less in Africa, the EU sees an opportunity to come back to its former colonies. 

The principal powers involved in the modern colonisation of Africa Britain (no longer part of the EU), France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, and Italy are still very much a part of the continent through language, culture, and history.


The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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