Tag Archives: Africa Sub Sahariana

CHINA AFRICA : A new beneficial alliance

CHINA – AFRICA : A new beneficial alliance


CHINA-AFRICA: A new beneficial alliance

Author: Elisa Mariani
Translated by Martina Paoli
October 2016

After the summit between China and Africa held on November 2006 in Beijing, attended by the African highest authorities, which was the beginning of a solid cooperation, these two countries have come a long way together. In 2014, the parties carried out over $200 billion commercial deals, while, recently, they have made possible an infrastructural development in Africa.

This partnership derives from the China’s interest in African natural resources, especially energy resources. In fact, Chinese imports from Africa consist largely of wood, diamonds, gold, cobalt, platinum, uranium and petroleum. Africa, on the other hand, receives a significant economic, political support from China, one of the most powerful countries in the world, which is investing in the construction of hydroelectric plants, dikes, railways, public buildings, streets and telecommunication networks in the African continent.

For example, China has signed an agreement in order to be able to use Algeria’s oil, in exchange for the construction of different types of buildings, including schools and institutional buildings; while $9 billion have been allocated for the creation of dykes and railways in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in exchange for the exploitation of the copper and cobalt mines.

During an interview at the Global African Investment Summit, Sindiso Ngwenya, the Secretary- General for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, reminded the importance of the Chinese support for the infrastructural development in the tripartite free trade area (TFTA), which involves 26 African countries with the aim of creating a unified market based on the industrial, infrastructural growth and the elimination of custom duties and other restrictions to the free movement of goods.

Moreover, according to Ngwenya, the Chinese aid has been important for the integration and trade between African regions, and the improvements in the sectors of energy, agriculture and human resources, which represent only some of the main factors for the achievement of the purposes of Agenda 2063, the plan for the development and the socio-economic transformation of the African continent over the next 50 years.

The China-Africa Summit of 2006 has marked an important turning point for the partnership between these two developing countries.

Taking advantage of the cold relations between Europe and Africa, the President Hu Jintao announced a number of measures to be implemented by 2009, for the prosperity and the well-being of the African countries, including the allocation of $5 billion divided into loans, export credits, and financial subsidies for the creation of a China-Africa Development Fund, in order to increase Chinese investments in the African continent.

China has also declared to be ready to eliminate the debts of the poorest countries, expand the imports of goods from Africa, removing customs barriers, and train 15,000 qualified people in the sectors of agriculture, education, and medicine.

Chinese interest in training qualified personnel and investing in Africa’s agriculture are high due to the need to import from the African continent raw materials such as tobacco and cotton.
In fact, thanks to China, 48 states of the art establishments for agricultural production have been built up in Africa to support local farmers.

Currently, this historic alliance still achieves mutually beneficial results and continues to represent a valid example for other economies, although strongly criticized and feared by USA and EU, which are both potential partners of Africa, but not as competitive and concrete as China. The allocation of $ 60 billion to promote Chinese investments in Africa, announced by the leader Xi Jinping, confirms the success of this partnership.

In fact, in December 2015, at the Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), held in Johannesburg, the President declared those funds will be used for the collaboration between the two parties, with the aim of increasing the welfare of the African continent. The financial support includes $40 billion for concessional loans and zero-interest loans, and $150 million to provide food assistance to people affected by El Niño, an extreme climate phenomenon, which devastated the harvest in those areas of Africa.

According to Jacob Zuma, the President of South Africa, thanks to Chinese aid, the country intends to restore the mining industry, which has recently felt the effects of a slowing demand for raw materials and a decrease in products prices.

Furthermore, Huawei, the Chinese multinational company which provides networking products and telecommunication solutions, is significantly expanding its business, managing a turnover of more than $3 billion in Africa, thanks to the creation of a national phone network and other internet networks in Zambia and Nigeria.


- focac.org
- infoaut.org
- cooperazioneallosviluppo.esteri.it
- repubblica.it

ECOWAS – CEDEAO and NourDign Project , to ensure dignity to African women

Progetto ECOWAS - CEDEAO e NourDign dignità delle donne in Africa

ECOWAS and NourDign, together to bring dignity to women in Africa

Written by Ms. Maria Luisa Spagnol
Translated by Miss Ilaria Giunti
June 2015

The problem of immigration become more important because of the inundated refugees disembarking. It seems that Europe is not able to properly respond: it is clear that we could not only welcome this unregulated migration unconditionally.

We can respond to the dishonesty of politicians and the dark forces of organised crime for the cormorant management with concrete and effective actions as those for the developments on the ground. There are many international cooperation projects, such as the NourDign, which attracted strong support by the ADA, and the ECOWAS association. ECOWAS is fully managed by IDA, a project which deal with socio-economic problems and aim to preserve the independence and the dignity of the women from African, not turning the project in a banal alms “to come clean” but guaranteeing in any case the opportunities also for the Italian investors. 16 West African States join to ECOWAS, founded in 1964 by the former President of Liberia Mr. William Tubman, who had formulated this project.

To guarantee the success of this project, first of all, it is required a predisposition for a comprehensive and complex strategy to carry out the needs of the local population in order to ameliorate their quality of life. . Subsequently we have to focus on the transfer of knowledge and on the training of workers through coordinate actions and active involvement by the local institutions and active bodies of the society, such as the banks for the credit supply.

A successful cooperation project is not limited to provide an instrument, a material good such as a machinery. The way to success is actually in the transfer of method, knowledge, the mentality of consolidated techniques of the European cooperative which cannot happen unless we bring a local teaching category, whilst respecting local popular traditions and what history has taught. The first pilot projects, in progress in Ivory Coast and in Senegal, are focusing on the transformation process of manioc, mango, cashew, peanut and sunflower without forgetting the development of the breeding industry approach to reduce the dependence of these States from the import of meat and related products.

Nourdign is one of the these pilot projects that envisages supplying machineries and materials, servicing, a specific training path, from teachers to local technicians. Nevertheless, the viability of these projects cannot be conceived without a market analysis, the carrying out of the local population needs, partner search and the choice of the supplier group. The evoked draft provides for an employment promise to two / three women, who will alternate in eight-hours shifts, for all the five production units, in order to guarantee in this way an income which could be used for at least ten / fifteen households.
The cooperation projects, such as that which we are referring, are one of the possible ways to respond to the actual problem of migration.

- http://www.ecowas.int/
- http://www.nourdign.org/invest_italian-version.html

- ECOWAS – Economic Community of West African States
- CEDEAO (in French) – Communauté économique des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest


Developing Countries: How to Escape the Poverty Trap?

Paesi in via di sviluppo, Come uscire dalla trappola della povertà

Developing Countries: How to Escape the Poverty Trap?

Author: Pierre Varasi
January 2015

2.5 billion people in the world live under the poverty line, of 2$ per day. 1.3 billion live under the extreme poverty line, which means with less than 1.25$ per day. Sub-Saharan Africa represents alone 46.8% of these (data of 2011). Right after it, we can find South Asia, with 24.5%. Wondering about the origin and the causes of this phenomenon is clearly important, but these are not easy to find: some scholars blame their ‘cultural underdevelopment’, others the European colonization, the remaining blame the climatic and territorial peculiarities. Anyway, theories that are hard to reconcile. As much as we could find arguments in favor of each of them, I think it is more important to understand what to do instead of looking at what caused it.

The developed states have tried for years to help these countries. Since the end of the Second World War, we have witnessed a great acceleration in the growth of institutions, movements and associations for development. However, at almost 70 years from that moment, aids have proved to be almost useless. What is wrong is not the amount of help or its form; but how states delivered it, and what this aid has led to. Specifically, in a great amount of poor areas, the developed countries have not respected the traditions and local culture, while they simply brought tools and western habits too, without taking into consideration the uniqueness of each of the receiving state.

Even more important is to consider that some kind of interest is usually behind the aid: economic, bonded to specific politics or programs, or to the purchase of goods from the country that brought the aid. We can do similar critiques to the Bretton Woods institutions: the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization. The developing countries underline how the world powers control and influence them, and that they dictate only one economic vision, the neo-liberal; they damage the state sovereignty with their impositions; they grant assets, although without taking responsibilities for the workers and the migrants that every economic transformation involve. Last but not least, the developed countries apply the same methods everywhere in the same way.

None of this means that help is not necessary. In a poor country most of the income is devoted to consumption, and this reduces savings. This also means lower investments, funds for technological innovations and so on, which brings low production and a slow rate of growth. This is the poverty trap, called this way as low production will lead again to limited consumption that will represent most of the country’s income. What can change the situation at this point is a foreign investment, which, if well used, can bring to the development of key industrial sectors and of tourism.

From this fact derives the importance of commerce, which increased constantly since the ‘50s, leading to changes and innovations all over the world. We must not forget, then, that there are defenses of the institutions cited before: states are not forced to accept the aids, but even more important, is that really right to leave these countries free to use the money received however they want, considering that they usually have corruption and a lot of political and juridical problems? Moreover, throughout the last century a number of movements that want the relief of these countries from debt were created, meaning that many people have recognized the mistakes they had done in the past, and that this debt has always hold back their economies.

How to lead these countries out of the poverty trap? Using both grants from other states and institutions, managing them in a controlled way without at the same time tidying them to specific provisions, as well as through private investment. Sigrid Kaag, assistant administrator of the UN development program (UNDP), argues that without private investment there will be no significant growth. The private sector would clearly bring advanced knowledge, innovations, and tested models of commerce and of production. Only sharing this knowledge will enable the Third World to develop.

The truth is that as much as we can try, sending money is not enough to improve the life’s conditions of the developing countries. Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, admits that public funds are not sufficient, while giving a greater role to the private sector would bring new jobs. Along with these, even income would increase. This would eventually lead to improvements in the life and health conditions, in the instructions levels and in the creation of infrastructures.

The new companies, which would have just moved, would also mean a new revenue for the government, from taxes; they would be competitive for the markets, and for this reason emulated by those already present in the territory, leading to greater productivity. In the long term, all of this would improve goods’ quality, but at the same time making them cheaper. For example, the lowest segments of population are already a new market for US companies in India and Brazil. Moreover, not only private investment must concentrate in these territories to help them, but to grow as well: since the economic crises of 2008, the growth of the Third World has been an engine for our economies.


- Worldbank.org
- UNDP.org
- IFC.org
- Baker, “Shaping the Developing World”




Author: Elisa Mariani
Translated by: Lorenzo Giusepponi
September 2016

The immigration issue is a mixed blessing that many people are currently focusing on and it is raising significant questions. In fact, the benefits and problems of migratory flows are still an unanswered question.
According to the Eurostat data of January 2014, resident aliens in the European Union are 20.4 million, mostly concentrated in Germany, Italy, Spain and France. In Italy, during the period 2007-2014, a 3% increase in the number of resident aliens was registered, the equivalent of two million people. In 2013 the migratory flow in Italy was so composed: 9.2% of migrants were expatriate citizens returning in their home country, 25.2% came from EU member states and 65.5% from non-member states. This last percentage is the highest in the EU.

Such data bear witness to the importance for Italy of foreign citizens, who account for 8.1% of the total population. Additionally, in 2014, foreigners in Italy whose age ranged from 15 to 34 accounted for 34.3%, while Italians in this age range were only 21.3%. This demonstrates that the young foreign population represents a potential resource for the country. However, while public debates usually focus on the negative aspects of immigration, there are also some advantages that are cause for reflection.

However, as mentioned before, Italy is not the only country coping with this problem. During recent years immigration has become one of the most debated topics at both the European and the global level. Just yesterday, the Leader’s Summit on Refugees hosted by President Obama, got underway and 150 Heads of State and Government are taking part in it on the occasion of the 71st United Nations General Assembly. In the following days, this will also include the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants. At the opening of the summit, the UN Secretary-General BanKi-Moon said: “Refugees and migrants are not to be seen as a burden. They offer great potential if only we unlock it”.

The stated objective and ultimate aim of international institutions hasn’t changed: solving the crisis of the excessive regular and irregular migratory flows caused by wars and famine and other problems linked to these dramatic situations such as terrorism, mistreatment, the rescue of refugees and the adoption of common measures for border crossing. The strategy aims to achieve the Global Compacts for refugees and migration by 2018.

As the Italian vice minister of foreign affairs – with a mandate on immigration – has confirmed, the EU and its member states will take part in the Summit for Refugees and Migrants in a moment of institutional stalemate that resulted in the European Council and Commission’s loss of power to make decisions and take action. Such fragmentation in the decision-making power was exacerbated after the failure of the Bratislava Summit, where, according to the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, the participants deliberately avoided discussing in depth about the immigration problem on the agenda, in order to leave the usual disagreements among the member states ignored and unsolved.

The meeting proved once again the lack of unanimity since Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic proposed a personal plan which would give more decision-making powers to the single states as they refused to participate in a possible proposal of compulsory refugees quotas. Instead, they favor flexible solidarity, that is a voluntary contribution in the member states’ management of migratory flows according to their resources. This plan, positively welcomed by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, represents a progress that risks not to be implemented.

Despite its negative sides, the Bratislava Summit led to the draft of a document that includes a schedule with practical measures to be carried out on immigration: the realization of the declaration between the EU and Turkey for supporting the Western Balkan countries, the official establishment and full operability of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency by the end of the year, agreements with other countries to decrease irregular immigration and increase the return rate and finally, a further effort to achieve full unanimity among member states for a common immigration policy.


- consilium.europa.eu
- vita.it
- eunews.it
- ansamed.info
- cliclavoro.gov.it



Alleanza Africa Europa

Author: Matteo Aristei
2019, July 19th

The European Commission develops a new Africa Europe partnership for sustainable investments and employment that aims to substantially stimulate investment in Africa, create jobs, strengthen trade and invest in skills and education . Today ‘s projects are based on the commitments made at the African Union – European Union summit held in Abidjan in November last year, on which the two continents decided to strengthen their partnership . It shows the main lines of action for a more robust economic program for the EU and its African partners .

The European Union, more than China and the US today, trades and exports to Africa : for example, ” foreign investment in Africa is 40 % for Europe, 5 % for China “.

Furthermore, the task force was created by the European Commission in May 2018 and it was set up to give opinions and advice on strengthening the Africa Europe partnership for food and agriculture . The European Commission will ensure the follow – up and implementation of various actions recommended by this group of experts to support the development of the agri – food sector and the rural economy of Africa .

In these four years of work of the Juncker Commission, a partnership of equals with the continent closest to Europe, whose development and security also guarantee those of Europe, has developed according to the high representative Federica Mogherini at the Brussels press conference, presenting the new ” Africa – Europe Alliance ” for sustainable investments and work, to which President Jean Claude Junker referred a short time ago in the State of the Union . After the private investment plan launched two years ago, work is about to be consolidated, developed and improved .

The Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, states : ” The entry into force of the continental free trade area demonstrates the determination of our African partners to promote business opportunities on the continent . The EU and Africa are key partners for trade and investments . This historic stage brings us closer to greater EU – Africa economic integration, a key objective of the Africa – Europe alliance . ”

The Commissioner responsible for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, says : ” This is a major step towards the economic integration of Africa, which I congratulate our African partners . The EU supports the continental area of free trade since its establishment, both politically and technically, and with financial resources exceeding 60 million euro . This is a pillar of the Africa – Europe partnership, as trade and integrated markets in Africa will foster sustainable investments and job creation . ”

The priorities of this new cooperation will be renewable energy and transport, young people, improvement of climate to encourage local resources, improvement of intra – African trade relations together with Europe .

Today ‘s proposal demonstrates the commitment to strengthen the Africa – EU partnership and outlines a series of key actions including :

• investing in people through investments in skills and education, at international and national level, to improve employment and adapt skills to the job offer, also through scholarships and exchange programs, such as in the framework of Erasmus +;

• promote strategic investments and strengthen the role of the private sector, specifically by significantly reducing the risks associated with investment projects through the combination of loans and the provision of guarantees and subsidies ;

• strengthen the business background and promote a more favourable climate for investments, especially by intensifying dialogue with African partners and supporting reforms in the sector ;

• use the full potential of economic integration and trade : based on the implementation of the continental free trade area for Africa, the long – term perspective is to conclude an extensive intercontinental free trade agreement between the EU and Africa . To this end, it is necessary to make the most of economic partnership agreements, free trade agreements, including global free trade areas and in – depth proposals to the countries of North Africa, and other trade regimes with the EU, as constituent elements of the area continental free trade for Africa ;

• mobilize a huge financial resource package, as shown in particular by the proposal for the next EU multiannual financial framework on external financing, in which Africa is considered a priority region .

Consultation and dialogue with African partners will be organized in the coming months to define priorities and take further measures jointly . The alliance will take into account the diversity of the African continent and the specificities of each country, including the contractual relations of the countries of North Africa within the respective association agreements and their experience in cooperation with the EU in the framework of the policy European Neighbourhood Policy .