Africa Strategy must move beyond business as usual
Yesterday, the European Commission has presented the EU Strategy for Africa. Alviina Alametsä Greens/EFA Member of the European Parliament's Development Committee, comments:
"What distinguishes this strategy from the previous one is that it places greater emphasis on the importance of the transition to a decarbonised economy, digitalisation and solidarity in the field of migration. However, the European Commission is pushing a 'business as usual' strategy and mechanisms that are both incoherent and unsustainable. It advocates the development of environmentally friendly agricultural practices, local production and the integration of biodiversity concerns, but at the same time promotes commercial relations that benefit large Western companies.
"The European Commission cannot promote digitalisation without addressing the problem of exporting our electronic waste to developing countries. It cannot talk about a 'safe and sustainable agri-food system' without tackling the impact of European exports of skimmed milk powder mixed with vegetable fats to West Africa. These exports have been flooding the African market for years to the detriment of local production, the environment and health.
"We regret that the Commission has not taken this opportunity to balance the rights of the private sector with social and environmental duties, which would allow it to become a real player in development. We urge the Commission to play its role as a regulator, in particular with regard to due diligence and by defining binding and enforceable social and environmental standards in free trade agreements."