Interview Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif, African Union Representative to the European Union

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    Interview by Europafrica with His Excellency (H. E.) Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif, African Union Representative to the European Union. The same questions were also posed to Mr. Philippe Darmuzey Head of the Unit “Panafrican Issues & Institutions, Governance & Migration” at the European Commission.

    Europafrica : In your view, what is the main added value of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) in comparison to other partnerships that Africa has with other countries (i.e. China)?

    H.E. Ambassador Mr Annadif: Its maturity as well as its historical, geographical and cultural dimensions make EU-Africa relations quite unique. However, such features can shape the partnership either positively or negatively. They can play a positive role if they allow both continents deal with the issues of their common past. They can also be negative by hampering progress.

    The main challenge of this relationship, which can also – if resolved – add to the value of the JAES, is addressing the prevailing stereotypes. This is the condition that would enable the transformation of the current donor/recipient relationship into a meaningful win-win partnership. That means learning how to work as partners.

    With China, the situation is different. There is no such common past. Comparatively, the relationship between China and Africa is new with a different set of shared interests at play. Therefore, working as partners may seems more straightforward. Today, China has become a major global actor and accordingly developed stronger ties with Africa and other regions alike. In addition, China’s involvement in Africa concentrates on a number of priority areas, which are “visible” to the people, mainly infrastructure, and with no conditionalities, contrary to cooperation with the EU.

    Globalisation led to a new global context and as a result Africa no longer accepts to be treated as a property. This again relates to the issue of changing mentalities. My conclusion, therefore, is that each global partnership needs to be considered both in its own right and in the new globalized context in which it emerges.


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