EU-African Economic Relations: Continuing Dominance Traded for Aid?
Promising growth rates, increased trade, and competition among major global players for African resources have boosted the development and bargaining power of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in relation to the EU. However, Africa's least developed countries remain vulnerable to external shocks. Academic analysis is still too heavily influenced by scholastic controversies. Neither the controversy over “big-push” concepts nor the blaming of African culture as an impediment to growth or good government do justice to the real issues at stake. Even beyond the aftermath of (neo)colonialism, and notwithstanding continuing deficits in good government in many African countries, the EU bears responsibility for the fragile state of many African economies. The self-interested trade policies of the EU and other world powers contribute to poverty and unsatisfactory development in SSA. This threatens to perpetuate asymmetrical power relations in the new Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), to the detriment of regional integration and pro-poor growth. However, mounting competition between China and other global players for Africa's resources is resulting in windfall profits for Africa. The latter is leading to a revival of seesaw politics, already known from the times of the Cold War, on the part of African states. This could be profitable for Africa's power elite, but not necessarily for Africa's poor.
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