Advancing EU-Africa cooperation in light of the African Continental Free Trade Area

Berger, Axel / Clara Brandi / Frederik Stender / Edward K. Brown / Philomena Apiko / Sean Woolfrey
External Publications (2020)

ETTG-Paper, September 2020


Key messages:
• Africa has attracted a lot of attention in recent decades. China’s rising footprint in the continent  has  resulted  in  increased  engagement  from  other  global  powers,  including  the EU, leading to a ‘competition’. It needs to be leveraged to speed progress on the continent.
• The COVID-19 pandemic adds yet another layer to the already complex topic of China’s foreign policy. But it also offers an opportunity to carefully examine some of the dominant narratives on China-Africa and also appreciate the perspectives on the African side.
• Prevailing myths of Chinese engagement in Africa represent a caricatured view which is neither nuanced nor does justice to the wide range of experiences in this rapidly evolving relationship.
• The perceived need by the EU to rebalance relations with Africa is inexorably linked to the increased competition of interests in the continent, coming especially from China.
• In these debates, however, African countries should not be viewed as silent spectators as competition between world powers unfolds. They are keen to avoid getting caught in these rivalries, but have strategic levers at hand to push competing powers to cooperate for the development of their continent.

About the authors

Berger, Axel

Political Science


Brandi, Clara

Economy and Political Science


Stender, Frederik



Further experts

Gitt, Florian


Olekseyuk, Zoryana


Vogel, Tim