The European Union vows to invest in clean energy projects and ramp up investments in infrastructure as part of its Global Gateway program. This follows a meeting between the EU and African Union officials.
After a gathering in Brussels on Monday, the European Union has agreed to an €750 million, three-year investment program in Africa’s infrastructure to develop such areas as transport, digitalization, energy, and the environment. This is Europe’s answer to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
The ties between the African Union and the European Union have been badly strained lately due to Russia’s Ukraine war. This war has caused some EU states to broker gas deals with African states, it has impacted African nations badly hit by increased wheat and grain prices, and many countries in the European Union are unwilling to take a stand against Russia.
Last week, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell conceded in an interview that the EU had been losing ground in Africa.
The previous week, the COP27 climate summit happened in Egypt and they were able to agree on a fund called “loss and damage” but were unable to agree on phasing out fossil fuels. Germany’s foreign minister blamed “tonewalling or organisational shortcomings” by African states or the Egyptian presidency because of this.
Leaders from African countries have met the recent breakthrough on ‘loss and damage’ with hope, but caution. One concern is that the process will take a long time before it becomes operational, which has been a problem for years. There’s also concern about climate finance pledges failing again after an international agreement to reach them at COP in Paris. For his part, Moussa Faki Mahamat commented that the “injustice” of past broken climate finance commitments “must be righted.”
Meanwhile, Energy Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen promised that there could be “a defining moment where we can join forces” on energy policy.
“Africa has abundant resources for clean energy. The shift to clean energy – if we do it right – could provide access for Africans to clean energy that is home-grown and that is affordable,” she said.