The Secretary General of the Italian Federation of Banks, Insurance and Financial Markets and Professor of Political Economy, Paolo Garonna, explains in the new cep Network format, GuestAdhoc, his position on EU-Africa relations disrupted by the war in Ukraine. According to him, the war in Ukraine has led to a major crisis in EU-Africa relations, despite the fact that the European Union-African Union summit held on 17 and 18 February was perceived as a success by observers.
Indeed, since the summit, many African countries have refused to condemn Russia's behaviour in Ukraine at the UN and have not voted for its suspension from the Human Rights Council. This shows crucial disagreements with the European Union. In addition, African countries are looking to Europe for help in dealing with the negative effects of the war in Ukraine on their continent. "The African economy is suffering the devastating consequences of the war due to rising energy and commodity prices, shortages due to disruptions in supply chains or simply lack of supply, as well as the recent blockage of grain imports," says Garonna. This could lead the continent to food insecurity, a risk of a sharp downturn, inflation, unemployment and ultimately political instability," he adds.
Nevertheless, he admits that the war in Ukraine has changed the way the European Union usually looks at Africa. "For a long time, Africa was seen only as a destination for EU development aid. Now it is a potential alternative to Russia in terms of energy resources. Energy is now a crucial area for a new look at Africa in terms of geostrategic commercial and financial partnership.
To address these developments, Mr Garonna proposes the following measures:
- Develop a new conceptual basis for a relationship based on trust and dignity between peers instead of development support and technical assistance;
- Create a strong global alliance to support multilateral institutions, in line with the common commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals;
- Sign a joint commitment to support the Euro-Mediterranean and Afro-Mediterranean dimensions of economic, social and financial integration;
- Negotiate a financial and strategic partnership to address the most pressing needs of Africans and Europeans in the long term.
"These are the conditions for creating value, new wealth, prosperity, and for working together on both continents to bring peace, stability and contribute to good governance," he concluds.