Why Is Europe Paying More Attention To Africa

Credit: Daily Sabah

Like the scramble for Africa before colonialism and during the cold war, European countries have made gaining influence in Africa its main agenda. Countries like Finland, Spain, and Turkey have all experienced interests to gain a foothold on the continent.

Turkey’s bilateral trade with Africa has jumped from $5 billion in 2003 to more than $23 billion in 2018, which adds up to $200 billion.

Spain is also seeking to increase and expand its market beyond its ‘traditional background’ and not just sell its wares. South Africa’s exports alone to Spain have almost tripled, averaging $1.2 billion annually.

In addition to this, Spain has also increased its aid budget to €673 million ($798 million) from 2015 to 2019. Spain will head up a training program in Mali and is also involved in European security missions in the Sahel.

Finland is mainly known for its humanitarian actions on the continent. However, they have also stepped up to the plate and have shown strength in climate change and Forestry management.

There has been an increase in the number of African countries with embassies in Africa. Finland is set up to open its embassy in West Africa next year. Spain has 24 embassies in Africa, while Turkey is looking to expand theirs to 44.

Turkey’s trade-first approach of new partners’ involves them avoiding interference in the internal affairs of African countries, as they seek to focus on the business side of things. Turkish energy and construction companies are gradually becoming favorites in bids across the continent.

However, Turkey’s stance is not devoid of politics, as they have opened a military base in Somalia, and are undecided about its stance in Libya.

Reyes Maroto, Spanish Minister of Industry, Trade, and Tourism, has initiated an ‘Horizonte Africa’ to support Spanish companies on the continent.

There is no doubt that China’s growing influence on the continent has pushed Europe to also make a move in gaining a stronghold or at least a piece of the cake.

Is this a new scramble for Africa?

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