Africa and its partners: building alliances for sustainable development
Sustainable development and peace in the world depend on economic and political developments in Africa. Cooperation with Africa has gained importance in recent months in Germany and Europe. During the general elections in Germany and France in 2017, the German G20 Presidency or the preparations for the Africa-EU summit in November 2017 a key topic will be how cooperation with Africa could be reformed and made more sustainable. Until December 2017 we will discuss with leading policy experts, academics, business and media representatives from Africa, Europe and beyond the following questions: What are relevant trends that would support sustainable developments in Africa? How should cooperation with African governments, African regional organisations and African societies be organised to enable sustainable development?
Falling growth rates may have put a damper on Africa’s renaissance, but they have not robbed its countries’ leaders of their confidence or vision for the future. This vision sees less reliance on outside assistance and greater interest on the part of investors in fast growing and largely untapped future markets.
France and China have officially established a cooperation agreement on third-country investment in November 2016. Its flagship programme is a joint investment fund. This blog argues that one essential precondition for a successful cooperation is a good understanding of third country’s domestic needs and the identification of complementarities of Sino-French joint Investments in Africa. I take Morocco as an example to illustrate that France and China may have comparative advantages that can contribute to accelerating Morocco’s implementation of renewable energy, a national objective that requires substantial financial support.
This blog describes the infrastructure-related initiatives of the G20 Partnership with Africa, as set forth by the 2017 German G20 Summit. It proposes that (a) the G20 align its initiatives with key African agendas (e.g., the African Union’s Agenda 2063), (b) support the inclusion of civil society in key initiatives, and (c) ensure a fair balance of interests between private investors and citizens. Otherwise, with the megaprojects envisioned, including many Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), African nations could experience greater debt distress; environmental destruction, and human rights violations.
The recently held G20 Summit in Hamburg has set high hopes for the G20 process in terms of being inclusive, effective and result-oriented. The fact that trade, investment, migration, terrorism and many other priorities including excess capacity in the steel sector could be incorporated with specific action is testimony to collective commitment for a better world.
The news emerging from Hamburg were dominated by the narrative of the emerging 19 +1 on issues such as climate change or trade protectionism. Yvanka Trump replacing her father in the US seat was a particularly juicy bit, with few realizing that happened when the leaders were discussing Africa. Street protests and the 9th Beethoven symphony played in the brand-new Elbphilharmonie capped what was after all a fair attempt by Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel to give direction to a group that has become a target of cynical criticism.