Europe intends to reassert its influence on the continent through development assistance, especially in the telecommunications sector. This is in reaction to China and Russia’s inroads in Africa. The European Union (EU) has subsequently pledged EUR 150 billion (USD 170 billion) in aid package to Africa. The EU made this known during a two-day conference that brought EU leaders and 40 African counterparts together last week.
The aid is among the Global Gateway plan which is the EU’s answer to China’s Belt and Road initiative. Global Gateway calls for EUR 300 billion (USD 340.8 million) in spending, and Africa would receive half the total. The assistance will go towards a broad range of projects, such as green energy initiatives, disaster relief, and public health infrastructure improvement. But one area the EU is primarily focused on is telecommunications.
Thierry Breton, the European commissioner in charge of the internal market, told reporters that a USD 6.8 billion high-speed EU satellite communication network would also include Africa. The network bolsters coverage in the continent, leading to economic development, which in turn will help the EU. But European officials are looking beyond that.
Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president of the European Commission, the bloc’s executive branch, announced a substantial support package for Nigeria’s digital economy when she visited the country on February 13, 2022. She also emphasized a “human-centric, democratic governance framework” for the technology.