The 7th Europe-Africa Business Forum (EABF) meeting was held in Brussels (February 16-17).
It was held back-to-back with the EU-Africa Summit taking place on February 17-18.
The EABF will also be held in the overall context of the Africa-Europe Week, with hybrid and online events during the week starting February 14.
The involvement of African and European businesses and their associations is essential to fully deliver a new ambition and format in 2022.
It will be interesting to see this new format, though the people of Africa should not expect anything emerging out of it.
This can be dubbed as one of the many useless talk shows that are staged by western imperial powers bent on looting Africa’s resources.
Africa should stay away from these so-called investment gatherings called by the imperial west because they serve no purpose or benefit to the African people.
The deals cut at such meetings are not meant to benefit Africans; they benefit the Europeans and African elites only.
Africa is home to many important natural resources which oil industries in Europe.
However, Europe wants almost free access to these resources at dirt cheap prices without benefit to the Africans in whose territories these resources are found.
Africa’s raw materials are taken to Europe and value added, a development that creates jobs for their people and not Africa.
When African leaders are invited to these meetings, they are told by the buyers (Europe) how much they should charge for their products.
This makes no business sense.
It is the seller’s right to set the price, not the buyer. If he does not like the price, he can go somewhere else.
It must be pointed out that in such meetings some African leaders are corrupted by the imperialists leaders and coerced into making dubious deals that do not benefit the people of Africa.
What emerges from these deals benefits only the elites and their families.
Allowing the buyers to invite the sellers to come to them promotes the idea that the seller is less important.
It should be the other way round.
Africa should be the one staging these meetings to showcase its resources by inviting the buyers to come to Africa and negotiate fair prices for resources.
Until the point is reached where Africa calls the shots, the continent will continue to be exploited.
Nothing beneficial will come out of these so-called investment summits in the foreseeable future.
Africa needs to reach a level of maturity to be able to make sound decisions that benefit its people.
However, the way things are going at the moment, there is nothing to suggest that anything beneficial will flow to the people coming out of these summits.
Africa should set out its own agenda, on its own terms and drive its own development in partnership with others.
Africa’s development script should not be written elsewhere as we have seen in the past in the form of structural adjustments policies imposed on Africa by the Bretton Woods institutions led by the IMF and World Bank.
These policies were tailormade to make Africa fail and sink into serious debt.
The EU is unlikely to agree to the AU’s main demand, and on which there is unanimous African support, for a World Trade Organisation waiver of intellectual property rights on COVID vaccines.
However, there could be developments in European investment in vaccine production sites in Africa.
There are signs of a growing pharmaceutical production industry in Africa.
South Africa recently produced its first batch of Moderna vaccines.
And lastly, the EU-African Union Summit is expected to be a platform for both parties to agree on the structure for Africa-Europe Security and Stability, a joint commitment to strengthen African capacities and support African peace operations.
This is primarily about restating existing defence and security efforts.
Why not operationalise the AU Standby Brigade to deal with Africa’s security concerns on the continent?
The African Union (AU) should emulate the example of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Cuba for producing their own Covid-19 vaccine and stop outsourcing Africa’s security to foreigners.
Dr. Mustafa Mheta is Senior researcher/Head of Africa Desk at the Media Review Network, South Africa and Dean: School of Languages at Somali National University (SNU), Mogadishu