Accelerating and Sustaining African Development:  Continuing the Search for a Dynamic Economic Strategy

by Dr. Robert J. Cummings

     The relationships between Europe and Africa have always been disadvantageous to Africa. Landmarks of these relations are: the slave trade, which depopulated the continent and created grave animosity among the main ethnic populations; colonization, which had lasting destructive effects on the minds of Africans; and neo-colonialism, which remains a most pervasive strategy that helps to keep African countries outside the global arena.

     Unlike Japan’s relationship with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Europe-Africa "partnership" has not been as beneficial to Africa. Europe has not gone out of its way to promote accelerated sustained development in Africa. The European Union continues to reduce its financial support to African countries, while enacting drastic immigration laws against African nationals.

     Europe will not wholeheartedly support African countries embarking on accelerated development which calls for the development of energy resources, the construction of heavy infrastructural facilities and the promotion of integrated industrial structures that would serve the key economic sectors and the increasing needs of Africans. While Europe’s objective is to maintain Africa as its market, with the loss of competitiveness of African agricultural exports engendered by the lack of an industrial base to boost the required productivity, Europeans appear to be divided into two groups in the European Union. One group is composed of those who would like to witness a reasonable growth in African countries and advocate more investment funds for African IMF conferences or EU/ACP meetings. They are led by France.

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August 1999