It’s not a secret that I am an advocate for trade rather than aid except in the occasions of force majeure.
Some of you may think it is easy for me to favour trade over aid in the comforts of an Austrian safety blanket. Nevertheless, I can reassure you that millions of internet-connected Africans exposed to the perception of them by high-income countries reject the reliance on foreign aid and pity.
Money alone does not solve the issues of brain-drained migration, security, climate change and weak governance. There are countless studies to show the high spikes of corruption levels upon receipt of aid money in countries with poor governance. Many foreign-funded orphanages resemble prisoner-of-war camps because managers pocket most monetary donations. Contributions in kind of equipment, materials, and supplies are either sold on or not suitable for local conditions, such as the hot, humid/dry climate and weak energy infrastructure and so forth.
The principal activities to finding solutions to stubborn global problems are constant open dialogue to foster knowledge exchange and international trade, particularly intra-regional trade to fuel economic progress for low-income countries.
Of course, other factors come into play to strengthen a strategic partnership for sustainable development, such as the accountability of African governments, European aid pushers or multinational corporations. However, both continents – young and old need each other to achieve sustainable growth, wealth, and development.
The Africa-EU Partnership reflects the commitment of both sides to work together on a strategic, equal, and long-term footing.
If managed well, the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership could facilitate favourable frameworks to mobilise all five capitals for individuals, enterprises, and institutions in both neighbouring continents to enable fair and mutual trade and cooperation.
Perhaps, you do not agree with my views – please get in touch. I always welcome a healthy debate!