Investment plan

EU chief unveils €150 billion investment plan for Africa

EU leader Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday unveiled plans to mobilize more than €150 billion in investment for Africa, proclaiming Europe to be Europe’s most important and “most important partner”. reliable” from the continent.

The program is the first regional plan of the European Union’s Global Gateway – an investment plan that aims to mobilize up to 300 billion euros ($340 billion) for public and private infrastructure around the world. here 2027.

Seen as a response to China’s Belt and Road initiative, the strategy will use funding from EU institutions and member countries to leverage private sector investment.

The EU has set a target date of 2030 for African funds under the plan, according to a European Commission document.

The money will go towards renewable energy, natural disaster risk reduction, internet access, transport, vaccine production and education in Africa, the document says.

Speaking at a press conference in Senegal’s capital Dakar, von der Leyen told reporters she was “proud” to announce plans for Africa, the aim of which was to raise at least less than 150 billion euros of investments.

She did not give details on how the funds would be raised or spent.

EU website says Global Gateway money will be earmarked for ‘smart, lean and secure links’ in communications and transport and improving health, education and research .

Von der Leyen, president of the powerful executive European Commission, arrived on Wednesday to prepare for a summit between the EU and the African Union on February 17-18.

“At the summit, investments will be at the heart of the discussions because they are the means of our common ambition,” von der Leyen said.

“In this field, Europe is the most reliable partner for Africa and by far the most important”, she added.

Global Gateway is rooted in “the values ​​to which Europe and Africa are committed, such as transparency, sustainability, good governance and concern for the well-being of people”, said von der Leyen.

Speaking to AFP ahead of his arrival in Senegal, von der Leyen warned that foreign investment in Africa too often comes with “hidden costs”.

Critics often accuse other major investors in Africa, such as China or Russia, of being less demanding when it comes to protecting the environment or human rights.

China in particular is accused of luring African countries into a debt trap by offering huge, unaffordable loans. Beijing disputes the accusation, arguing that its loans are designed to alleviate poverty.

For his part, Senegalese President Macky Sall told reporters on Thursday that he expected the EU-AU summit to lead to a “renewed, modernized and more action-oriented partnership”.

“Europe and Africa have an interest in working together,” he said, referring, among other things, to the geographical proximity of the two continents and common security concerns.

Sall added that he was committed to fighting global warming, but stressed the need to fund natural gas projects to boost industry and provide better access to electricity.

He opposed plans announced by a small group of countries at last year’s COP26 climate summit, including the United States and France, to end foreign fossil fuel funding unabated. – those without associated carbon capture technology – by the end of 2022.

The COP26 final declaration also said countries would “accelerate their efforts to phase out coal power and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.”

Senegal, a poor country of 17 million inhabitants, places great hopes on the gas fields off its Atlantic coast.

The government said it plans to start production by the end of next year or in 2024.