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European Commission President

The EU Alliance with Africa: Is It Old Wine in New Bottles?

The Alliance aims to deepen economic relations between the two continents by boosting private investment and trade. The Commission is billing the proposals as a “radical shift” in the EU’s approach to development cooperation in Africa that will take the relationship “to the next level.” Implicit in the sound bites is the EU’s ambition to rival the growing influence of China, whose vast programme of investment on the continent has left other donors scrambling to catch up. But is the Alliance actually anything new? And does it have the potential to reposition the EU as Africa’s leading development partner?