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Should the African Union Strengthen their Alliance with the European Union?

Info: 16729 words (67 pages) Dissertation
Published: 17th Dec 2019

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Tagged: European StudiesInternational RelationsPolitics

“We have come together in awareness of the lessons and experiences of the past, but also in certainty that our future requires an audacious approach, one that allows us to face with confidence the demands of our globalizing world.” — Second Africa-EU Summit, Lisbon Declaration

 ‘Should the African Union strengthen their alliance with the European Union or should they explore new trading links with developing blocs such as China the Association of Southeast Asia (ASEAN?) ’

Chapter 1 – Introduction Chapter and Literature Review

They asked him if the bird they had caught and hidden in the hand of one of

Them was alive or dead . . . . ‘Whether the bird is alive or dead I do not know.

What I do know is that the fate of the bird is in your hands’

‘The bird in our hand: Is it living or dead?’”

Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize Lecture, 7 December 1999

My dissertation aims to push the scholarship of the Afro-Europa relations further. It will give a clear insight and provide statistical, factual and theoretical information which suggests how the African Union can develop Africa in order to overcome problems faced internally and externally. If issues such as (trade imbalances and an adequate development policy are not agreed upon in the nearby future, this will inherently halt any immediate progress taking place if there is not an adequate solution. This has been touched upon briefly in recent scholarship on Europe-Africa relations; however, there is still a gap in the literature regarding Afro-Europa relations from an Afrocentric viewpoint. while my dissertation will shed light on this future scholars may be interested in exploring this topic a lot further in order to reach a more substantial conclusion in the future potential of Africa as I believe that based on the abundance of goods the African Union (AU) has at its disposal, there is a “resource curse” based on the suffering and inequality that has taken place throughout the historical development of Africa (Collier, 2004).

The main aim of this chapter is to introduce the two regional organisations that will be discussed throughout my dissertation. These are; the African Union (AU) and European Union (EU). In order to achieve this, I will explore the formation and development of both organisations as well as assessing some similarities and issues within the organisations. From this point on I shall compare and contrast them based on their functions and effectiveness. this introductory chapter will draw to a conclusion by highlighting my other research questions by focusing on them in relation to an aspect the joint regional integration strategy between the unions known as the ‘2020 road map strategy’ developed during the Lisbon summit, in which the Joint African European Strategy (JAES) was unveiled.

Literature Review

The purpose of this literature review is to gain an understanding of the material that has been published on the subject of Afro Europa relations and the main schools of thought that can be used to theorise it.

Before I begin, answering my research questions it would be useful for me to dissect some terminology I have used within my dissertation to bring more clarity and direction. This is in acknowledgement of how west centric the literature regarding Africa-European relations is. One of my aims of my dissertation is to change the perception of the superpower controlling the playing field and level out. This will provide scope for more Afrocentric research undertaken chiefly by a greater number of African scholars in the nearby future. The terms I will dissect include; globalization, Third world and multilateralism.

Globalization has becomes a natural study of postcolonialism because, like colonialism, globalization places emphasis on European domination of the subaltern (those outside of the power structure) (Nayar, 2010:191:194). A contemporary definition of globalization is explicitly defined as:

“The expansion of trade, the development of transnational and global communication networks, the diminished role of the nation-state, the rise of transnational cultural, economic and political networks “(Jones, 2008:7).

Newer concerns of postcolonialism have arisen as a result of; economic globalization, neo-colonialization and cultural imperialism or westernisation of societies. The embeddedness of societies has put pressure on the postcolonial emphasis on territoriality (Nayar, 2010:191). Post-colonialism is concerned with imperialism and its racialized effects. Imperialism is deemed a form of globalization. It is evident that Marxism and Postcolonialism  are interlinked, but at the same time they are not always directly related.` Postcolonialism interest with Globalization results in issues surrounding colonial legacy (Nayar, 2010:193).

Ali Behdad states that post-colonialism must address the ‘unequal geography’ of globalization and links with European domination and the process of decolonisation (Behdad, 2007:77). Both Postcolonialism and Globalization are referred to in my dissertation. There are greater levels of regionalization than globalisation taking place in the world according to sceptics such as David Held (Jones, 2008:7).  Other sceptics, including Graeme Thompson and Paul Hirst believe economic interdependence is not historically unprecedented   (Jones, 2008:7) Interpretations of world data shows that the world economy was more integrated at the end of the 20th century in comparison to the 19th century.

The term ‘west’ is basically a phrase I have used in shorthand to describe relatively rich nations collectively, similar to D.K Fieldhouse in his book ‘The west and the World’ (Fieldhouse, 1999, 1). The term ‘Third World’ is a difficult term to pin down and has begun to lose its meaning over time as it was used to describe non-capitalist and non-imperialist economies’. But the term in all its fullness, originated in the Bandung Conference as the term was coined by Alfred Sauvy as a synonym for underprivileged countries or regions (Fieldhouse, 1999, 2).

It is Important to note that the use of the term “third world” (TW) actively goes against the aims of my research, which focuses the discussion of African development through the lenses of African nations that are beginning to prosper economically especially with the assistance of the AU as the governing bodies for these countries. The third world is a pejorative term in most cases that is used to describe a group of countries which have colonial histories and which are in the process of developing economically and socially from a status characterized by low incomes, dependence on agriculture, weakness in trading relations, social deprivation for large segments… and restricted political and civil liberties (Smith 2013, 11).

TW, as a term, is not at all representative of Africa; instead it is used more as a code for the ‘inherent inferiority of tropical societies made up of dark-skinned people’. This includes groups regions such as, Oceania, people of color in the US, Europe and Australia that consists of black, Asian indigenous, and Latino peoples (Lane, 1992, 21). Usage of this term symbolises the generalisation of different communities throughout Africa as well as the removal of their identities. So based on what I have discussed above, I will refrain from using this term throughout my dissertation.

One of the main reasons the Post-Colonial school of thought is necessary in this discussion is because it goes a step further than critical theories of International Relations and introduces the idea of identity and culture into the debate, by representing Africa in a fairer way.

The term Multilateralism can be described as multiple countries working iin unison (Jones, 2008:172). Along with this, several forms of global governance have formed. The term is interlinked with globalization. Multilateralism is a key concept in regards to Afro-Europa relations and it is also the rationale behind JAES strategy of 2007. It is questionable however, whether mulilateralism is the ideal form of global governance is highly debateable within my discussion of the future of Africa’s trade relations with other regions.

Despite the increased volume of literature on the AU (Murithi 2005; Francis 2006; Adejumobi and Olukoshi 2008; Akokpari et al. 2007; Engel and Gomes Porto 2010; Mangala 2010a, 2010b; Murithi 2010) it is still an under-researched organisation (Haastrup, 2013:788).

The nature of the discourse on the AU is still limited compared to other organisations. Consequently, it has been conceptually challenging to study the AU in a comparative perspective (Haastrup, 2013:789). Indeed, some scholars from the Global North who have shown an interest in the continental integration process have also questioned the legitimacy of the AU to speak for the whole of Africa (Clapham 1999; Certainly, the AU is plagued by difficulty in maintaining consensus especially given its intergovernmental governance structure (Murithi 2010).–PARAPHRASE

Research by Feierman looks at the dissolution of African history and the impact it has had on research within this based on momentous historical events such as the enlightenment era and the rise of the nation-state post-Westphalia creating a “west-centric” view on ancient civilisation (Feierman,1993, 167-212.) . Ramakrishnan agrees with this and also adds that’s “Post-Colonialism is useful in understanding the realms of representation and perception. An elucidation of Post-Colonialism is worthwhile as it unravels the language of global political economy and control” (Ramakrishnan, 1999: 163). However, the theory as a whole can be deemed problematic as it does not take into consideration, the ‘Problem of the subject’ according to Kumar (Kumar, 2011:655).

(How will this affect your study???**)

There have been very few studies of resurging economic relations between China and Africa. The following articles were highlighted in Jian-Ye’s working paper on ‘What Drives China’s Growing Role in Africa?’ They are useful literary texts that outline contemporary relations with China and Africa (Jian-Ye, 2007:4). Alden (2005) reviews the evolution of contemporary Sino-African economic relations from the 1970s onwards. A World Bank study investigates constraints or policy challenges for increasing Africa-Asia trade and investment (Broadman, 2007). Edwards and Jenkins (2005) study trade-poverty links. Finally, Jenkins and Edwards (2006) examine the direct and indirect trade impact of China and India on sub-Saharan Africa.


The dissertation will rely chiefly on the analysis of secondary sources such as academic books and articles as well as media coverage and the usage of statistics collected by organisations such as the African Union and European Union. I decided to only use statistical and empirical data as evidence to support my points, and decided not to choose secondary sources of data collection. The reason being is that it doesn’t add or relate to any of the aims and objectives which I set for myself at the beginning of my dissertation. Another brief note on the method is that the use of official government resources is something that I am going to rely on a great deal, but the usage of data across a continent as big as Africa can be deemed by researchers as a hurdle to get past when comprising this data that homogenises a very diverse region of the world.

Africa-EU relations need to take place on a continent to continent level, sub regional, national and individual level In order to be successful in the long-run.


Marxism, as a theory, can be used to theorise the dominance of European powers during colonialism and also the recent stages of development post-independence. The Marxist school of thought is preoccupied with the economy primarily as conceived by Karl Marx. Neo-Marxism is a subset of Marxism, that deals with issues within its superstructure, such as; politics, culture and ideology. Marxist view would describe European control economically by exploitation of the population. This creates what is referred to as surplus value. Marx never published an explicit theory on neo-colonialism, neither did he theorise about relations between the west and developing countries. Imperialist’s views of relations between superpowers and developing countries owe very little to Marx (Fieldhouse, 1999, 47). In relation to the developing  world and the west, writers who have considered themselves ‘Marxists’, in one sense and all are pessimists as more modern Marxists such as Wallenstein look at the impact of the core on the periphery nations. Imperialism is the political expression of the accumulation of capital in competitive struggle for what remains still open of the non-capitalist environment (Fieldhouse, 1999:48).

Proto-Globalization theorist Immanuel Wallerstein writes from a neo-Marxist perspective. He proposed a theoretical framework called the ‘World Systems Analysis’. He uses this world systems approach theorizes how capitalism, over time, has progressively become the main mode of economic, social and cultural on a global scale within this contemporary era (Jones, 226:2008). Since the 17th century one dominant system based on capitalism has become ‘global in scope’. He uses a Marxian view of a single world capitalist economy that goes along geographical lines.  Wallerstein splits this world capitalist economy into three main structures (figure below); the core, the periphery and the semi-periphery.


The core societies extrapolate surplus value including labour and resources from the periphery nations. The core can be exemplified by more developed economies usually located in northwest Europe. In regards to my dissertation nations within the EU or even the EU its self can be seen as a core economy

Semi periphery acts as a political balance and in its absence there global economy would not run smoothly. A prime example of societies that fit within this classification are fast growing economies such as BRIC Economies and trading such as ASEAN and Mercado Comun Del Sur (MERCOSUR). Periphery economies are those that are less developed than the semi-periphery and core countries. These are the countries usually receive a disproportionately small share of global wealth. Within my dissertation, African economies are a prime example of what Wallenstein would class as the ‘periphery’. Wallenstein’s work is important and highly relevant as it examines capitalism on a global scale moving on from a Marx’s  national scale analysis of Marxism

Although the world systems theory is useful on a global scale, traditional Marxist theory predicts a revolution amongst the working classes against the ruling class as class consciousness is created. Wallersteins theory makes it hard to theorise a global revolution like one that Marx depicts (Jones, 2008: 226).

Another way control was gained was ideologically. Gramsci’s idea of hegemony states that ideology could be used as a tool of domination over the indigenous populations during the colonial rule. Gramsci believed that hegemony relies more on consent than coercion. Under its conditions subordinate social groups might be led to consent to the power of dominant groups (colonizers) with a dominant ideology (Christianity) (Dunne et al, 2016, 134-135).Ideologies used to explain the necessity of colonial rule included a heavy emphasis placed on what was described Africans, according to this view, should be ashamed of their past; the only important thing is in the present.For example, Missionaries openly told Africans that ancestor-worship was bad and they should cut themselves loose from their ‘evil’ past and embrace the present in the new symbolisms of Christianity and Western culture. Indeed, Africans were virtually told that the colonisers and missionaries came to save them, sometimes in spite of themselves, from their past (Dunne et al, 2016, 134-135).

In relation to contemporary European and African relations, this can be theorised using Neo- imperialism. This theory is perceived as the attainment of power by organizations such as multi-national corporations and intergovernmental agencies.  Neo-colonialist opponents believe that MNCs and IGOs use their international market position to coerce nation states to implement domestic policies that may not be in the best interests of the indigenous people.

Kwame Nkrumah (1965) has reason to believe that Neo-colonialism is in fact the worst form of imperialism. For those who practise it, it means power without responsibility and for those who suffer from it, it means exploitation without redress. In the days of old-fashioned colonialism, the imperial power had at least to explain and justify at home the actions it was but, with neo-colonialism neither is the case. Neo-colonialism, like colonialism, is an attempt to export the social conflicts of the capitalist countries. The success of this policy can be seen in the widening gap between the richer and the poorer nations. But the internal contradictions and conflicts of neo-colonialism make it certain that it cannot endure as a permanent world policy. How it should be brought to an end is a problem that should be studied, above all, by the developed nations of the world, because it is they who will feel the full impact of the ultimate failure. The longer it continues the more certain it is that its inevitable collapse will destroy the social system of which they have made (Nkrumah, 1965). (Recent source – this source is still needed however) ***how does this relate to ideology? ****

In addition to this neo-colonialist position contemporary Marxists have adopted, contemporary theories regarding this. In relation to my dissertation, Wallenstein theory is a better analysis of international trade relations, post-independence. This is also further evidence that the globalisation is not a new phenomenon if we relate the world systems theory to colonialism. The connection between politics and economics makes the contribution of the Marxist school of thought key in explaining the impact that the colonial rule had.


The discussion of imperialism is evidence that Marxism has clearly influenced the direction of future discussion on the issue of colonial ruling, and has also influenced a lot of postcolonial scholarship thus far, in relation to furthering the analysis of relations between the developed and the developing continents.  The term post-colonialism is not given an independent entry in the Oxford English Dictionary.  The term is often hyphenated and exists alongside the compound word ‘colonialism’. The first use of this word was in 1959 (Williams and Chrisman, 1994, 276).

This is where the study of Post-Colonialism is vital within the historical contextualisation of Africa. Post-Colonialism is an academic approach that analyses, explains, and responds to the cultural legacy of colonialism and imperialism. Post-Colonialism speaks about the human consequences of external control and economic exploitation of native people and their lands. Post-Colonialism differs from most traditional and critical theories of International Relations (IR). It encourages the reader to analyse and explain the effects that colonization, or the extension of power into other nations, have on people and nations. This creates a refreshing outlook on the impact of colonisation as it operates through the lenses of the oppressed rather than those who wield the power. Post-Colonialist work is normatively inclined and their work critiques both formal and informal practices of colonialism, similar to the ones I stated earlier on in the chapter. Postcolonial writers draw inspiration from “literary theory, philosophy, history and anthropology and ethnographic studies” (Daddow: 2013. 233).

It is important to note that the post-colonial theory in particular does not necessarily focus on nations after the colonisation era, but in fact focuses on the entire colonisation period as well as the colonial legacies that the west left behind. Edward Said is a key scholar in post colonialism and his work links heavily to whether Africa should strengthen their relationship with the EU. Theoretically, this is a strong starting point as Said highlights the Wests attitudes towards the ‘colonised’ known as the ‘Orient’. (Said, 1979:5) This post-colonial approach is useful for showing the relationship between the ‘colonizer and the colonized’. This would give scholars like Said reason to believe that a partnership is not needed as it will just reinforce western hegemonic power over developing countries. (Said, 1979:5)

The term “post-colonial” may be assumed to be misleading since it refers to the period when the colonies became independent sovereign states. However, this definition would only mean that the colonial rule ceased by its all means. Given that the political independence is even an illusion for these ex-colonies, colonialism continues in a neo-colonial mode after taking different forms. This is the position that I am taking For these countries, the achievement of political independence did not solve the problems which were expected to be overcome instead, new forms of domination appeared. New political elites in these countries emerged and sustained the rule based on the exploitation of certain classes and colonialism reproduced itself under the name of neo-colonialism.

Most of the material I have touched on seems to ignore the crippling effects that colonialism had on African countries. For example, forced labour, land sharing policies, forced tax agreements and so on. This has also been the case leading up to more contemporary times when independence had already been won, yet these underlying issues still cripple the region today. An exact answer to my question of “Should the African Union strengthen their alliance with the European Union” is that viable solutions for the progression of Africa are valid debates that have not been theorised or discussed in great lengths by any of these theories in great detail. (how will your diss address this)

New Institutionalism

In order to understand new institutionalism it is necessary to explain the old institutionalism upon which the newer version is built which reflects some features and characteristics of the older approach in understanding politics. However, there are significant variations from the older institutionalism. Old institutionalists developed an important body of literature that was the foundation for development of new institutionalism as well as for the other schools of thought that emerged in parallel. It has been much criticised for its descriptive richness and methodology that was mainly based on observations and descriptions. It gave a good impetus for the further research of political institutions and political life. The main concern of old institutionalists was to analyse the nature of governing institutions that were capable of structure the behaviour of individuals towards better ends and collective purposes. The most famous school of old institutionalists was the school of the Progressive Movement in the United States, which consider political science as the study of the State and an exercise in formal-legal analysis, and that constituted the basis of political science research for much of the late nineteenth and first half of twentieth centuries. Peters characterises old institutionalism as “normative, structuralist, historicist, legalist, and holistic” (Lowndes, 2001:41-43).

“The new institutionalists concern themselves with informal conventions as well as formal rules and structures, they pay attention to the way in which institutions embody values and power relationships, and they study not just the impact of institutions upon behaviour, but interaction between individuals and institutions” (Lowndes, 2001)

Due to its complexity and the wealth of literature on the subject, there is a problem with defining new institutionalism. Therefore it is crucial to see what criteria should be used for defining whether an approach is really institutional or not. Peters attempted to define a common core that binds all approaches together. The most important element of institutionalism, according to Peters, is that institutions are a structural feature of a society and/or polity. That structure may be formal like a legislature, an agency in the public bureaucracy, or a legal framework, or may be informal like the set of shared norms or a network of interacting organisations

Add peters



The modern state system was born from the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 that ended the 30 years of war in Europe.  From this treaty, the framework of the modern nation-state and the establishment of boundaries were formed.  The Westphalia system created the concept of nationalism and established the modern, state-centric concept of realist theory. Supporters of the realist construct, views man as a self-interested, self-serving being.  The theory sees world politics as a “struggle among self-interested states for power and position under anarchy, with each competing state pursuing its own national interests” (Kegley et al, 2011). The self-interested nature of states could be a rationale for the scramble of Africa based on a Hobbesian view of the state as ‘anarchical’ based on a lack of legitimate authority. Hobbes thesis would also suggest that the political climate after decolonisation created a state of anarchy. As a theory, Realism is the starting point from which, the following theories expand on the state’s rationale to maintain their ‘Balance of Power’.

My argument is based on Africa’s historical development. It is focused on the development strategy of 2007, known as the JAES strategy. This Strategy looks at both the interests of the AU and the EU, to determine the right direction for the African Union to go in, in terms of improving their relationship with the EU. I will be focusing on how their relationship can be improved via an improvement of trade and development policies. In my dissertation, I shall argue that the AU should be looking forward and improving their integration efforts by acting, both reactively and proactively, to increasing levels globalization. Even if this means diversifying into other markets, with other growing trade regions, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as developing nations such as China. This means that the African Union is able to achieve a better standing in the world economically than they would have with just collaborating with the E.U exclusively.

J.A.E.S infographic


In 2007, the heads of state and government from 53 African countries and 27 EU member-states launched the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES). The regional integration strategy outlined eight areas of focus:

“Peace and security; democratic governance and human rights; trade, regional integration and infrastructure; Millennium Development Goals; energy; climate change; migration, mobility, and employment; and science, information, society, and space are among the joint concerns for these regions bound together by history, culture, and geography” (Hart, 2011).

Jack Mangala considers the JAES as the most advanced form of ‘inter-regionalism’ seen to date. Mangala adopts a somewhat optimistic approach by praising Africa’s growing strategic importance and EU’s recognition by stating that “we have come together in awareness of the lessons and experiences of the past, but also in the certainty that our future requires an audacious approach, one that allows us to face with confidence the demands of our globalized world” (Mangala, 2013:4). African and European leaders expressed their commitment to the Partnership at the 3rd Africa-EU Summit held in Libya in November 2010. That summit focused on investment, economic growth, and job creation, and a second action plan focusing on youth unemployment (Africa-eu-sti-portal.net, 2017). Europe and Africa share a lot of commonalities in terms of both regions improving integration on an economic and social level in the future.

  This Chapter shall briefly introduce the formation and organisation of both the European Union and African union, and then introduce my argument by looking at previous and current relations between the two trading blocs. The EU represents the biggest commercial block in the world (Ec.europa.eu, 2014). Europe was Africa’s first trading partner and representing 30% of world exports to Europe. 5 EU countries were amongst the top 10 investors to Africa and received 24 billion in assistance from the EU from 2007-2012 (ECDPM, 2015).

I shall end this introductory chapter with a brief literature review of my main theories and arguments I shall encompass within my dissertation and critically evaluate the theories in order to contextualize the dissertation’s research questions.

British academic, Ben Rosamond, cited in Haynes book ‘International Relations and Globalisation In the 21St Century’, that the EU is “by some distance, the most developed project of regional integration in the world” (Haynes et al, 2013: 298). He believes the main reasons for this are because of its mature institutions. Integrative attempts within Europe began in 1952 with the European Coal and Steel and Community. Since then it has pursued multiple – economic, cultural, security, and political – goals, leading now to an advanced state of regional integration. The most prominent milestones in European integration are: the Treaty of Rome (1957) and the Single European Act (SEA) in 1986. The SEA was signed by the then twelve members of the European Community (Figure below). The SEA was important because it created a single European with free movement of labour, goods and capital. It allowed for the in the European Parliament to get involved with the decision-making process, as well as qualified majority voting (QMV) in the Council of Ministers. Finally, the act included provisions covering collaboration in research and development and in environmental policy. Treaties such as the Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice treaties (1992, 1997, and 2000, respectively) also deepened their political integration further (Haynes et al, 2013, 298-300).

Figure 1 – European Union since 1945

The creation of the AU from an African perspective has been prompted by the failures of the Organisation of AU. Founded on 25 May 1963, the OAU was created as a reaction to colonial rulings (Haastrup, 2013:787).

What are the key organs of the African Union?

There are 54 Member States that make up the African Union. The structure of the AU heavily resembles that of the EU. The Assembly comprised of heads of state, that meet at least once a year and is the AU’s main decision-making body. Assembly members elect an AU chairperson, who holds office for one year (Hanson, 2009). The current chairman is Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of South Africa (Mohamed, 2017). The Executive Council comprised of foreign affairs ministers of individual states. The Executive Council is responsible to the Assembly.

The Commission, ten commissioners holding individual portfolios that manage the day-to-day tasks of the AU and implement AU policies. The Commission reports to the Executive Council. The current chairperson is Moussa Faki of Chad (Mohamed, 2017).

The Pan-African Parliament, begun in 2004 to “ensure the full participation of African peoples in governance, development, and economic integration of the Continent.” This body debates continent-wide issues and advises AU heads of state. It currently has advisory powers only, but there are plans to grant it legislative powers in the future.

The Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) was established in 2005, ECOSOCC seeks to build partnerships between African governments and civil society. It includes African social groups, professional groups, NGOs, and cultural organizations. The 150-member General Assembly was launched in September 2008, replacing the ECOSOCC’s initial interim structure.

Membership consists of 150 CSOs, each with a 4 year mandate and may be re-elected only once. These include:

  • Two CSOs from each AU Member State following an appropriate national consultation process.
  • Ten CSOs operating at regional level and 8 at continental level following an appropriate consultative process to determine modalities.
  • Twenty CSOs elected from the African Diaspora as defined by the Executive Council, covering the various continents of the world following an appropriate process for determining modalities;
  • Six CSOs in ex-officio capacity, nominated by the Commission based on special considerations and appropriate criteria, in consultation with Member States (paraphrase//REFERENCE –http://www.cfr.org/africa-sub-saharan/african-union/p11616#p5).

With the exception of the CSOs nominated by the Commission, representation must ensure fifty percent (50%) gender equality and fifty percent (50%) of the representatives must be between the ages of 18 to 35 (ISS Africa, n.d.)

The Court of Justice. In 2004, the AU agreed that the regional African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights would be merged with the Court of Justice. As of August 2009, the merger of the two courts was still in process.


The AU charter names three bodies: the African Central Bank, the African Monetary Fund, and the African Investment Bank. Of these, only the African Investment Bank has been established (PDF), but it is not yet functional. It will be based in Tripoli, Libya. These make up the AU’s Financial Institutions. (Hanson, 2009)

Now that we have looked at the formation and structure of both unions this part of the chapter shall focus on their institutional similarities and illustrate their current relations.

There are quite a few similarities between the EU and the AU. However, not all similarities are definitive proof of organisational mirroring. One example of this is the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the AU and EU’s Political and Security Committee. Despite shared abbreviations and the similarities in interests, they are nevertheless different. Unlike the EU’s permanent committee, which consist of Brussels-based ambassadors from all member states, it is widely accepted that the AU’s PSC was inspired by the United Nations’ Security Council. It includes representatives from each African sub-region with rotational representation of 15 member states for two- and three-year limits. Similarly there is the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union (ECOSOCC). Superficially, it bears resemblance to EU’s European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). Both are forums for including ‘civil society’ (Haastrup, 2013:790).

Most assessments of the EU’s relationship with other regions suggest EU’s push for regionalism is motivated by their desire of institutional self-replication (Avery 1973; Smith 2008).

  Moreover, decision-making within the EU is a shared process between member states and the European Commission and thus the EU functions on a mix of supranationality and intergovernmentalism (Bach 2006). The AU Commission however, has no decision-making powers and has to defer to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, thus making the AU Commission fully intergovernmental (Haastrup, 2013:791) .Africa is an emerging continent with huge demographic and natural resource potential. Both Europe and Africa have intensified exchanges in trade, political dialogue, development cooperation and social dialogue prior to the formation of the African Union. There is* a vast potential in Africa. This is because of its natural resources and stability through constant economic growth, averaging 5% from 2000-2010, twice the average of Western economies. (Adebajo and Whiteman, 2012:172). Additionally, African nations represent half of the UN general assembly membership. This is further evidence of their political prowess. A former minister described Africa-Europe relations last month, using the West African metaphor of adinkra crocodile to illustrate that both continents are dependent on one another, using the quote “Two heads, one stomach?” (Helly, 2014) . Based on this it is apparent that ‘Europe in particular has a vested interest in Africa and the council of ministers states that “Our strategy is intended to help Africa achieve this” (Helly, 2014).

EU member states interact with African governments but countries such as; UK, France Portugal Belgium has maintained strong relations with their former colonies.  Some African leaders are still sceptical about improving the alliance as the notion and impact of colonialism is still a sensitive issue that influences EU decisions on Africa and the extent that Africa engages with EU as it has created hidden ‘Elephants in the room’ (Helly, 2013:140) Rodney believes that are Europe responsible for impoverishment in Africa by comparing levels of development and underdevelopment and stating that Africa was once centre of physical development (Rodney, 2012:1-3).

Nevertheless, contemporary integration between the two regions began with the Lomé Convention of 1975. Relations between the two regions were set on a more solid footing with an institutionalised framework of cooperation based on this trade agreement. The Cotonou Agreement succeeded the Lomé convention. It is now also seen as the most innovative form of interregional cooperation between the formal regional grouping of the European Union and a region that consists of African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries. Mary Farrell poses the dilemma of where the EU-Africa cooperation fits into approaches to International Relations. However, Farrell addresses the difficulty in doing so by stating that:

 “It is difficult to find much reference to the concept of partnership in any of the main theoretical approaches, much less to find a useful definition of the term in any of the explanations of international cooperation on offer in contemporary literature.” (Farrell, 2005). A key point to add In relation to IR theory according to Farrell is that:

“The view that cooperation is necessary and desirable not merely in the pursuit of self–interest but as part of a wider agenda for peace, justice and equality, where power and politics are supplanted by an institutionalised framework to support dialogue and enhance the achievement of core values, including democracy and the rule of law” (Farrell, 2005).

In order to combat this problem the main theories I aim to draw on include; Post-colonialism, Marxism, Neo-liberal -intuitionalism and so on. I shall illustrate this in the Literature review as I progress.

Adopted in 2007, the Joint Africa-EU Strategy provides a long-term framework for relations between the African Union and the European Union, based on shared interests. For the first time, this strategy the partners on an equal footing in the hope that Africans would not be just the “recipients” of pre-packaged assistance from the European Union but would sit side-by-side with the EU at the decision-making table. (Africa-eu-partnership.org, 2016)

There was increasing recognition that development policies and programs had, at least to a certain extent, failed to deliver meaningful and sustainable development. // bitterness and resentment left over by draconian policies imposed on Africans by international monetary institutions. Donors, including the EU, began to feel the need to revise their relationship with beneficiaries. Europe recognized the evolution taking place and the deepening of Africa’s integration as well as the need for more effective and coherent relations (Hart, 2011).

I believe that there will be a new era in relations between the EU and Africa. This dissertation will attempt to define the previous and current cooperation between the two regions, and expand on the evolving partnership based on dialogue that has been brought about conferences and summits and the development of the JAES strategy at My dissertation aims to move on from this point of integration to assess the direction that Africa should take and is most likely to change based on its historical development and current relations. This debate shall begin by looking at the 2007 JAES strategy that looked to 2020 as a “road map” for the two regions to improve integration on an economic and social level.

Conclusion – what should chapter conclusions consist of??

I want to close this introduction chapter by using a phrase in Paul Nugent’s book ‘Africa since Independence’, he poses the question whether African independence is a poisoned chalice or cup of plenty (Young, 2012). I want to pose a similar question in relation to African integration and whether or not they should improve relations with China and other members of ASEAN or further their alliance with the European Union as a “Continental drift” between the two regional powers may lead Africa to diversify into more emerging markets and create more meaningful trade agreements with less bureaucratic red tape.

In relation to..

The AU deserves broader examination. – this is what my dissertation aims to achieve.. this is in reaction to them being the centre of interest for several global powers (State) and also what their next step would be as a result of global interconnectedness.

And Following these themes this has driven my research questions to shape the structure of my dissertation. These include;

  • Chapter// Research questions (briefly describe) – will do after other chapters are complete!
  • Are western influences to blame for Africa’s position in the World?


 ‘Will strengthening relations between these two organisations just be used as another instrument of the EU if so what barriers prevent the AU from evolving into a stronger institution?


  • Conclusion: what direction should the AU take?

Chapter Two: ‘Are the wests former colonial influences to blame for Africa’s position in the world?

‘And across the parapet, I see the mother of African unity and independence, her body besmeared with the blood of her sons and daughters in their struggle to set her free from the shackles of imperialism’ – Kwame Nkrumah, Ghanaian leader, 1957 -1966

The chapter will consist of a historical introduction to my dissertation topic, introducing different schools of thought to supplement my argument that the west is partially to blame for the underdevelopment of Africa. In order to engage with the debate, I shall discuss whether the west is to blame for why Africa on the whole is depicted by wars, poverty and hunger, by exploring the background to the Scramble for Africa in 1884, and briefly looking at the state of Africa during the decolonization period.


I shall argue that, Africa should build itself back up without accepting help from its former colonial powers within the EU. In order to engage with this the debate, the specific focus will be on the scramble of Africa, the subsequent break up of Kingdoms and Clans and the legacy that came out of the Berlin Conference This chapter will also give a clear insight into what direction Africa should take in regards to future trade and development policies and future alliances. This will be achieved by focusing on briefly discussing the terminology I will adopt throughout the duration of my project, a brief historical background of Afro-Europa relations, a Literature review on the main theories I aim to use throughout my essay and I shall end by answering my research question by stating that Europe is partially to blame for Africa’s subordinate position in the world. In relation to contemporary relations as a progress that that the AU should looking past Europe and improve integration efforts with more developing countries with similar growth rates like China. And this may also include trade regions such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). This includes countries such as; Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and so on (ASEAN | ONE VISION ONE IDENTITY ONE COMMUNITY, n.d.).

The term ‘west’ is basically a phrase I have used in shorthand to describe relatively rich nations collectively, similar to D.K Fieldhouse in his book ‘The west and the World’. According to Fieldhouse the “Third World’ is a difficult term to pin down and has begun to lose its meaning over time as it was used to describe non-capitalist and non-imperialist economies” (Fieldhouse, 1999,1- 2). But the term in all its fullness, originated in the Bandung Conference as the term was coined by Alfred Sauvy, as a synonym for underprivileged countries or regions.

It is important to note that the use of the term “third world” (TW) actively goes against the aims of my research, which focuses the discussion of African development through the lenses of African nations that are beginning to prosper economically especially with the assistance of the AU as the governing bodies for these countries. The third world is a pejorative term in most cases that is used to describe a group of countries which have colonial histories and which are in the process of developing economically and socially from a status characterized by low incomes, dependence on agriculture, weakness in trading relations, social deprivation for large segments… and restricted political and civil liberties (Smith 2013, 11). TW, as a term, is not at all representative of Africa as a continent; instead it is used more as a code for the ‘inherent inferiority of tropical societies made up of dark-skinned people’. This includes groups regions such as, Oceania, people of colour in the US, Europe and Australia that consists of black, Asian indigenous, and Latino peoples (Lane, 1992: 21). Usage of this term symbolises the generalisation of different communities throughout Africa and bands them together as one collective group, failing to realise the diversity of ethnic groups and the differing cultures. Using this term is a political removal of their individual identities. One of the main reasons the Post-Colonial school of thought is necessary in this discussion is because it goes a step further than critical theories of International Relations and introduces idea of identity and culture into the debate, by representing Africa differently In order to understand what direction Africa needs to go, we need first to understand how it has developed. This is essential to getting a clear insight into what direction Africa should undertake in regards to future trade alliances.

Africa is the world’s second largest continent. Images of a paradisiacal Eden are portrayed, as it is the birthplace of mankind. ‘Afro-pessimists’ and western historians often view it as the “Dark continent” that is plagued with disease and rife with conflict (figure below). These images contrast greatly from the images which suggested  that, Africa did in fact benefit a great deal from the technological changes and improvements in infrastructure, but the fact that it was done in a manner deemed authoritarian and tore apart communities in the process (Adebayo, 2010, 1-2). This is further evidence of the colonial imprint countries such as; Germany, Britain France and Portugal had in Africa, which I shall delve deeper into throughout this opening chapter.

Image result for africa famine advertising

Adopting a victim blaming approach to argue that European powers are to blame for all the African problems is a route I do not want to go down, as it one that is very complex and lacks empirical data to adequately support the argument thoroughly. I want to engage with some of the issues surrounding African development. Fifty years have passed since the independence of a majority of African countries. However, very little has changed in relation to trade and development in some instances. European powers are not entirely the sole blame for the development (lack thereof) of Africa as a continent. I shall explore this in more detail within my next chapter. Statistically speaking, Africa’s position in the world is as follows: In many parts of Sub‐Saharan Africa, foreign trade is measured in terms of imports and exports of goods and services. This represents more than 50 per cent of GDP (Data.worldbank.org, 2015). Import dependency is a key feature of a majority of developing countries within Africa. Mozambique for example, trade represents 96 per cent of GDP and exports only 26 per cent (Data.worldbank.org, 2015). Rodney describes development as the “capacity for self-sustaining growth”. What Africa experienced in the early centuries before trade, according to Rodney, was seen as a loss of opportunity development wise and this is of upmost importance (Rodney, 1974).The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite statistic (index) that measures key dimensions of human development including: a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and have a decent standard of living (Roser, n.d.). Figure 3 shows the human development index for Africa. It is evident from the map that Africa has some of the lowest levels of human development in comparison to the rest of the world.

Before colonial influence played a part in Africa’s development, it was characterised greatly by kingdoms and clans (Figure below). The African-based Empire of Carthage in North Africa was one of the earliest forms of domination of African people by East Mediterranean influences (Sesay, 1986, 1). Europeans involvement in Africa can be dated to the 16th century, when the Portuguese used cannons to control townships and cities on the coast to set up their trading empire. Although European contact pre-dated the 1880’s it wasn’t as significant until 1884 when the ‘Iron Chancellor’ Otto Vonn Bismarck effectively set rules to partition Africa, with participating countries who had already shown some form of interest in Africa, during the Berlin Conference. As a consequence, some of these African territories suffered rather than gained (Sesay, 1986, 21). The “Scramble for Africa” is a metaphor coined by historians to describe the Annexation of Africa by European Powers in the late nineteenth century during the Berlin Conference of 1884-85. Adedeke Adebayo believes that the scramble for Africa created Africa’s deep-rooted problems.A quote from Van Bismarck can be used to illustrate European domination of Africa:

“My map of Africa lies in Europe. Here is Russia, and here… is France, and we are in the middle; that is my map of Africa” – Otto Von Bismarck, chancellor of Germany, 1871-1890 (Brooke-Smith, 1987)


Adebayo is highly critical of the decision made by Van Bismarck during the berlin conference based on the historical and structural implications it still has on the continent currently. The Berlin Conference did not initiate European domination of Africa, but it did however legitimate and formalize the process. In addition to this, colonialism sparked a new interest in Africa. Following the close of the conference, European powers expanded their claims in Africa such that by 1900, European states had claimed nearly 90 per cent of African territory. The main motives for Bismarck’s decision to take total control of Africa were based on the combination of the following factors: Economic, industrial, strategic, cultural and domestic factors. Nevertheless, other countries had their own agendas in countries they colonised. These included in direct and direct rules, paternalism slavery and exploitation. As a result of this their motives both politically and economically impacted the legacies of the colonial of the countries. Different colonial rulings had different, but crippling effects (Sesay, 1986 18-26), as differing theories of International Relations suggest, in particular, Marxism and Post-Colonialism, which I shall expand on in the literature review section of my chapter.

This section focuses on the state of Africa, post-colonisation. This chapter also aims to answer the question I posed earlier on regarding whether the main cause of African subordination was in fact Europe’s colonial influences.

The term ‘Post-colonial state’ has often been used by historians, economists and political theorists as a synonym for a ‘post-independence state’. The formation of African nations after this point (figure 3) is the clearest indicator of a separation of the colonised from the imperial powers. The post-colonial nation-states often emerged out of division between existing territories. For example, states like Ghana’s physical boundaries had no similarity with that of the Gold Coast (Ashcroft et al, 2000, 193-194).

Map of the Independent Nations of Africa with Dates of Independence for Each Nation

The emergence of state building in Africa negatively affected the countries within it. This is seen as the case to scholars and historians as the crisis in Africa is said to have derived from upsets and conflicts throughout its long history.  Whether there is a root cause of this, is debateable.

One of the main reasons that this is the case, is due to the fact that during the decolonisation era a rise of nationalism, more so nation-statism arose via revolutionary and liberation movements across the continent, leading to a surge of independence around Africa up until the 1980s (figure 3).

In addition to this, post-colonial states were sometimes tied to their colonisers economically, legal or administratively. This effectively allowed states to remain in control of the newly independent African nations. This can be viewed as a new form of colonialism or (Neo- Colonialism) (Ashcroft et al, 2000, 194).  One of the main stumbling blocvs hindering the African Union in current negotiations with the European Union reasons is due to the fact that some believe that west are to blame for Africa’s subordination is during decolonisation. One of the ways this affecyed Africa was institutionally, as there were no valid structures left for the countries to emulate (Davidson, 1992:11) Crawford Young highlights Six phases of postcolonial evolution that consisted of a mixture of optimism and pessimism (Young,2012, 10). Instead, Africa was left with ‘shells of a ‘fragile’ and fallible society (Davidson, 1992, 11-12).

Explain further with more sources – IMPORTANT POINT!! ->> dictatorships/ civil wars/ resource / autocracy  / failed states

Walter Rodney (1972) believes Africa has the space and resources to gain a foot in the global market economically via trade and development. However, there is a presence of resources; there is an absence of quality leadership.

Coltan in DRC and Rwanda 

Africa’s potential – . In 2012, natural resources accounted for 77% of total exports and 42% of government revenues

For example:


  • About 30% of the world known reserves of minerals,
  • About 10% of oil and 8% of gas resources,
  • Largest cobalt, diamonds, platinum, and uranium reserves in the world,
  • Comparably low level of exploration,
  • In 2012, mining, oil and gas accounted for 28% of the continent’s GDP,


This is a factor that could contribute to the level of corruption that is present. Institutions that deal with this are also influenced by civil-military relations, especially during the fight for freedom during decolonisation civil wars resulted in a fall in in gross domestic product (GDP)  of 2.3% on average (Collier, 2007). Collier focuses on different ‘poverty traps’ he believes are to blame for the conditions experienced in areas of: intense conflict, poor governance and corruption. He further enhances his analysis by stating that rich countries trading policies have contributed to this problem (Collier, 2007: 159-162). Another unintended consequence of this “state of nature” as Hobbes would class this period as was that in relation to governance, African nations were not reaping the benefits of democracy as democracy creates opportunities for and enhances the capabilities of the poor and underprivileged population. (Cheema, 2005: 8). Democracy is important in this context as it can be positively correlated to the level of economic development. Seymour Martin Lipset was the first to establish the link between the two variables (Cheema, 2005, 7). In addition to this, Cheema highlights three main advantages of these systems over authoritarian regimes. The advantages include:

  1. Democracies manage conflicts and avoid violent political change occurring
  2. Democracies avoid threats to human survival due to a system of checks and balances
  3. Democracies lead to greater awareness of social development. (Cheema, 2005,8)

Overall, human development can be enhanced significantly through the improvement of democratic processes in developing countries.

This chapter is important as it takes into consideration the development of African state via colonial rule and the lack of institutional framework left behind by imperial powers which would leave Hobbes would perceive as a “state of anarchy”  within the continent.

I want to conclude by attempting to answer this question by coming to the point where I believe Europe’s influence did impact African development but, but based on the decolonisation era and the fight for liberation this created a form of nationalism that emphasised Africa’s division of people within the nation and with the rest of the world, into a few nation-states.  However, I don’t know whether the wests ‘chokehold’ on African states mean that they would be better off diversifying to other regions and forming new trading alliances with other developing countries and trading organisations such as the Association of South-East Asian Nations and/ or fast growing BRIC economies such as China who already have their foot in the door, metaphorically speaking in terms of their recent surge in foreign direct investment (FDI) into African countries.

The Afrocentric approach I have adopted leads me to strongly support the notion that Africa has lost out on a great deal of domestic wealth via the activities of “outsiders” and in relation to their future they need to take into consideration whether improving relations based on the dialogue within the Lisbon treaty of 2007 is beneficial and whether this is an vague image of some form of neo-colonialism rather than neo-liberal institutionalism.

This will be my starting point in the discussion of who the African Union should turn to in order to develop better trade alliances with. To summarise what happened in past in Africa, what current leaders should acknowledge is that the past cannot be changed in any way shape or form but instead the future generation and future leaders of Africa can change things around for the better. The victim blaming approaching simply won’t remedy any deep rooted problems, only if the AU begins to make a mark on the world economically will conditions slowly start to change. African leaders, in my educated opinion, are putting themselves first to stay in power then to stand for what is right for their people. These are best lessons for African future generation and leaders to learn from past history of Africa itself and to try to have better Africa continent in future.

for the purpose of my argument it is important to look at (put an historical analysis as a deep rooted cause of a lack of progress as seen from the failures of the OAU and the possible failure of current au/eu policies stem from the colonial legacy left behind by Europe’s subjugation of Africa.

We now have discussed the development of Africa and Europe’s vested interest. It seems relevant to move the debate onwards to focus on contemporary issues that still occur, like trade and development and more pressing issues within the problem of what direction the AU should go in will draw on more pressing issues I would like to engage with as I progress are as follows: Can superpowers still be trusted? It more in their interest or for a significant improvement in their relations and who real loses out in this trade alliance? And also barriers that stop the two strengthening relations and what other opportunities can the AU take advantage of?




*** link the background to the historical development of the AU so it links to the diss title****


Chapter 3

‘The battle for influence in the world between the West and China is not Africa’s problem. Our continent is in a hurry to build infrastructure, ensure affordable energy and educate our people …China’s approach to our needs is simply better adapted than the slow and sometimes patronising post-colonial approach of European investors, donor organisations and non-governmental organisations’ – Abdoulaye Wade, President of Senegal, January 2008


INTRODUCTION TO EACH SECTION: What: “This section does this” Why (relevance & linkage): “This is to establish this” CONCLUSION TO EACH SECTION: 1. STATE THE ARGUMENT: “This Chapter argued that….. 2. RELATE THE ARGUMENT TO THE THESIS: “which is a crucial component of the overall thesis that ” 3. RELATE THE ARGUMENT TO THE OTHER CHAPTERS: “The following 15 chapter builds on this by …. in order to ….” OR “The following chapter now turns to an examination of

From what has been discussed so far, it has been seen that …. (Summarise conclusions from last few chapter..) ///AS STATED IN CHAPTER 2…… (Summarise section 2)

FINAL CHAPTER – What benefit will the African Union have in forming a stronger alliance? Is it just another instrument of power for the EU and Should the Union of Africa create trade alliances with developing countries?

On the one hand, African leaders of the AU would like to escape the colonial trap of being exploited and being depicted simply as raw material exporters and actually dominate trade deals. On the other hand, I shall engage critically with both sides of the argument in order to deduce weather the AU will actually benefit with forming a stronger alliance with an market as a attractive as the EU, which consists of 500 million consumers. I will use the Neo- Institutionalist school of thought to reiterate the important for the AU to rely on the support the EU has offered. This relates to my overall, dissertation title as it progresses the argument, which I shall do by focusing on whether the AU should be open to more trade agreements with developing countries and regions that are on similar stages of development. (Edit based on what is discussed in C3).

Signpost section

In a conference in Brussels, Former Commissioner Romano Prodi declared in his speech that:

 “Our European Model of Integration is the most developed in the world. Imperfect though it still is, it nevertheless works on a continental scale… I believe we can make a convincing case that it would also work globally (Prodi 2000:7).

EU is Sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA) largest single trading partner, buying on average 31 per cent of its merchandise exports and providing 40 per cent of its merchandise imports. The trade relationship between SSA and the EU is important for the region’s development, and proposed free trade agreements (FTAs) between the EU and SSA could have a significant impact on most of SSA (Hinkle and Schiff, 2004:1321).

Africa should not be quick to dismiss the EU interest within the continent. There are two main reasons I believe Africa needs to maintain some relation with Europe because; the EU is the pillar of the economy and because they have the political power to implement trade agreements effectively. The EU considers they an important trading as they are the world’s largest single market and has a market of over 500 million consumers. Although the EU may be projected to grow only very slowly in 2012 and 2013 it remains the largest economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of €25 000. That represents a €12.6 trillion economy. http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2012/october/tradoc_149954.pdf

This makes the EU the ideal partner to trade with. It is also an economy that has enormous potential for the future. 5 of the top 10 countries on the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness index are EU Members. They make up 6 of the top 10 economies on the INSEAD/WIPO Global Innovation Index. – http://www.globalinnovationindex.org/gii/main/fullreport/files/Global%20Innovation%20Index%202012.pdf Overall, companies with global aspirations, such as the AU, cannot afford to ignore this economy.

Secondly, The EU has the political prowess to implement trade agreements. There may be a perception that the European Union has difficulties in this area in the context of the crisis. This is a mistake. Despite the unfavourable economic situation, Europe has been able move forward with liberalisation through the bilateral channel, and move forward faster than other countries, like the USA.

A prime example of their political prowess is the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement. In July 2011, a new free trade agreement between the European Union and South Korea entered into force. It is a ground-breaking agreement that covers a huge range of subjects, from border barriers to the more complex regulatory and administrative measures that can present hurdles to international trade. It also links the European Union with its fourth largest partner outside of Europe. It is a testament to Europe’s ability to move forward on trade that this agreement moved swiftly through Europe’s approval procedure. Negotiations were opened in May 2007 and the agreement entered into force in July 2011, four years in total. By contrast the negotiations between Korea and the United States began in February 2006 with agreement only entering into force in March 2012, six years later.

In critically analysing some of the sources I have previously used, some of this information could be seen as ‘biased’. It was written chiefly by the European commission. With this being the case it may lack any critical viewpoints of the EU’s trade policy. What I have been stated above is evidence of E.U dominance and a key benefit of having a supranational organisation of this stature. Additionally, A Case study that can be used to highlight the importance of the AU having the E.U as a trading partner is the opportunity to increase find exports and improving its technological infrastructure to improve its overall competitiveness.

The surge in demand in organic produce offers certain parts of Africa the opportunity to increase their food exports. Over the last two decades, Africa’s share of world food exports has dropped from 11 per cent to less than 3 per cent. ASEAN member state, Thailand exports almost as much food as all of SSA combined. Africa needs robust efforts to upgrade its agriculture through technology adoption and not simply reliance on the exploitation its resources.

To achieve its technological objectives, Africa needs to partner with countries such as the United Kingdom that have historical knowledge of the continent. But collective EU policies make it difficult for Africa to engage productively with the UK in areas such as agricultural biotechnology.

One of the impacts of the policies has been to nudge Africa towards new partnerships with countries such China and Brazil that have pioneered the adoption of new agricultural technologies. This, in turn, has the long-term potential of eroding trade relations between the UK and Africa. The time has come for the EU to rethink the impact of its policies on African agriculture in general and technological transformation in particular (https://capx.co/how-the-eu-starves-africa-into-submission/)

Conversely, several in which EU policies affect Africa’s ability to address its agricultural and food challenges: tariff escalation; technological innovation and food export preferences.  African leaders would like to escape the colonial trap of being viewed simply as raw material exporters. But their efforts to add value to the materials continue to be frustrated by existing EU policies. Take the example of coffee. In 2014 Africa —the home of coffee— earned nearly $2.4 billion from the crop. Germany, a leading processor, earned about $3.8 billion from coffee re-exports. It is that Africa is punished by EU tariff barriers for doing so. Non-decaffeinated green coffee is exempt from the charges. However, a 7.5 per cent charge is imposed on roasted coffee. As a result, the bulk of Africa’s export to the EU is unroasted green coffee.https://capx.co/how-the-eu-starves-africa-into-submission/

Another example where EU policy undermines African agricultural innovation is in the field of genetically modified (GM) crops. The EU exercises its right not to cultivate transgenic crops but only to import them as animal feed. However, its export of restrictive policies on GM crops has negatively affected Africa. Africa’s needs are different from the EU. African problems where GM is involved should be considered as an option.

The Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute has developed a GM approach but their efforts to further their research in the technology are hampered by opposition from those who advocate the adoption of an EU biosafety approach that would effectively stall the adoption of the technology. In fact, some of opponents using scare tactics against the technology are EU-based non-governmental organizations(https://capx.co/how-the-eu-starves-africa-into-submission/) .

The moth Maruca vitrata destroys about US $300 million worth of blackeyed peas in Nigeria. Nigeria imports $500m worth of pesticides from the US annually to control the insect. the Institute for Agricultural Research have developed a Maruca-resistant, GM blackeyed pea variety. Nigerian policy makers are hesitant to pursue a technology that they fear might put them on a collision course with the EU. Both of these policies are evidence of the suppression of technological innovation and industrial development among African countries.

For this reason, Damien Helly hypothesises that there has been a ‘continental drift’ following JAES which has ultimately resulted in several stumbling blocks affecting region integration between the two trading blocs.  The continental drift refers to two things according to Helly; (1) first, each continent holds a consistent structure, (2) second, the distance between them is growing (Helly, 2013:138).

The continental drift refers to two things according to Helly; (1) first, each continent holds a consistent structure, (2) second, the distance between them is growing (Helly, 2013:138)

This proverbial ‘drift’ has subsequently also led to inefficient production and falling private capital inflows. Sub-Saharan Africa, invested 15 percent of its GDP in 1987-88 back into the region. The quality of Africa’s own investment also leaves much to be desired. The rate of return per unit investment in sub-Saharan Africa was 2.5 percent in the 1980s, compared to 23 percent in South Asia (Chege, 1991:158).

The continental drift illustrates widening cracks between both regions. Although EU trading with Africa post JAES has risen slightly and even despite trade levels falling in 2009, the imports and exports totalled 286 billion euros.

However the statistics Chege uses are rather dated. More recent statistics show that the EU’S outwards investment flows have halved since 2007 from 16.7 to 7.3 billion euros in 2011 (figure below) (recent stats)

Africa is 3% of EU’s worldwide trade – insignificant figure which has caused concern for some as it illustrates that a closer alliance has failed to materialise since JAES (Helly,2013;139). This shows statistical evidence that confirms Helly’s hypothesis of a continental drift between Africa and Europe.

Another point to add is that when the two blocs do trade, it is only a limited number of countries that partake, such as; south Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, Ghana and so on. On the other side these countries include; France, the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden etc. (figure below). The relative share of Europe in Africa’s trade has fallen from 39.5% in 2007 to 34.5% in 2011. In the meantime, China’s share was boosted from 10% to 20% (figure below)

EPA’s between haven’t reach a meaningful result after decades of negotiations. Helly believes a reason that this is the case is because there are “Too many elephants in the room” – links to my previous chapter in relation to Europeans colonial subjugation of Africa and the ‘colonial legacy that it left behind”. I would say this has made negotiations more controversial and recent economic partnership agreements have caused a stumbling block in relations between Africa and the EU (Helly, 2013; 139). These failures have been studied extensively and there is now a variety of literature available relating to the failures of the EPA negotiations

The main trend since 2007, from a development aid perspective, in the EU-Africa relationship remains the rise of new or re-emerging donors in Africa. These, and China in particular, have shaken traditional EU development aid models. For some authors, it even means that the EU has ‘lost its leadership’ in African development (Helly, 2013:142)

Several studies emphasise that there have been strong divergences about the value added by EPAs, and the credibility of EPAs as a vector for development, mostly because of their separation from development and foreign policy. While the EU, represented by the European Commission’s Trade Directorate General (DG Trade), presents the EPAs as a trade-induced development model for Africa, many experts from Africa and Europe have highlighted the shortcomings of EPAs for African development and denounced the DG Trade’s approach during the first set of negotiations.20 Since 2007, negotiation packages have included provisions on development-friendly measures beyond trade liberalisation (aid for trade, i.e. assistance for adjustments in trade hardware and software), demonstrating that some progress has been made in reaching consensus on development models. However, progress has not led to the conclusion of agreements because of pending tensions on these issues. By 2012, the negotiators had also failed to reach necessary compromises on many other issues, such as transition phases for trade liberalisation.21

I shall now evaluate the use of the dependency theory to explain the impact of Afro-Europa relations and multilateralism. Two other problems are apparent in the dependency approach. One is that the theory is static.

By arguing that things really have not changed since colonial times, denies previous developments and ignores the chance of relations improving with both organisations). It is easy to see the source of this static quality, for dependency is a “mirror-image idea” (Zartman, 1976:341). It originates from the equally racist perspective of the colonisers, who believed the African native was inherently incapable of being civilised. Thus, dependency has a scapegoat function, comforting the slow developer by showing him that the fault is not his but rather that of the outside forces of evil, because of their very subtle mechanisms, are keeping him down (Zartman, 341).

Another problem is that the approach makes a number of broad assumptions. It assumes that a common enculturation in a broad family of values gives rise to common interests and common decisions Moreover, it assumes that there is a broad family of values called, indistinguishably, “Western” and “modern,” that is different and antithetical to another family, called “native” or “African” or “authentic” or “Third World,” or simply  true. It also assumes that bilateral postcolonial predominance correlates with underdevelopment, a relation that careful studies have shown to be the reverse of reality . (Zartman, 1976: 341-342)

Build up to counterargument:

After decades of post-colonial development assistance, African elites in many countries clearly appreciate the positive sides of the Chinese model (Wade, 2008).

China’s approach is more pragmatic than European positions and it far more informal than the lengthy and heavy bureaucratic procedures of European mechanisms; it is more independent from civil society’s scrutiny on due diligence, accountability and transparency; and guarantees relatively quick delivery times, without frequently delayed budget disbursements.

Zartman believes bilateral relationships are gradually being diluted by multilateralization. (Zartman, 1976:333) Instead of Africa having an ultimatum of who to collaborate with an alternative to this Multilateralism can combat problems that Africa has faced in terms of its developmental problems. I shall use the dependency approach to elaborate on this point. “Multilateral governance is achieved where rules and their enforcement produces predictable relations between countries and within regions and states” (Bischoff, 2008:178). “The dependency approach is now widely used in analysing Third World developmental problems. According to this school of thought the attainment of political sovereignty masks the reality of continued dependence on world economic structures, and calculations of power and interest within this dependency relationship explain underdevelopment.” (Zartman, 1976:324)

According to the decolonization theory, on the other hand, Afro-Europa relationships are caught up in an evolutionary process, as various forms of bilateral, metropolitan influence are replaced with multilateral relations.

Overall, African multilateralism can be typified as containing these four elements: extractive—using limited trade arrangements sustain a flow of tariff revenue to the state or are used by regional institutions as a means to obtain greater amounts of foreign aid or status; symbolic—employing institutions for the purposes of political symbolism, rhetoric and declaration; responsive—anticipating global trends of regional economic protectionism and (re)creating sub-regional bodies to pre-empt this drift towards it in the early 1990s; or receptive—embracing foreign donor regimes (Bischoff: 178). In short, it remains largely disconnected from African citizen needs and, as yet, is not a transformative force. As elsewhere, multilateralism is only ‘nominally defined’ without any ‘qualitative dimension’ attached to it (Ruggie, 1992: 566).

A more participative multilateralism and trilateralism effort on Africa’s side more could lead them to need to diversify their relations with other regions ad countries in similar stages of development such as China and ASEAN. Based on Bischoff initial argument, this gives me the rationale to argue this similar viewpoint

I support this argument because African states engaging primarily in bilateral relations with powers outside the continent have, had only had a limited interest in the development of the continent’s own multilateralism (bischoff:2008:178). Improving trade relations has further opened up China’s market to Africa significantly at the beginning of the 21st century (Jian-Ye, 2007:5).

During the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-African Cooperation in November 2006, President Hu Jintao of China announced new commitments to Africa for 2007–2009. China has asserted itself into Africa in terms of development and trade. A US$5 billion Development Fund was created to support Chinese FDI in Africa.

case studies that illustrate China’s new found interest in Africa. Firstly,  The Huawei Company. Their whose sales in SSA countries exceeded US$1 billion, has become the largest wireless technology provider in the region. Secondly, Since 1997 Chinese businessmen have invested US$24 million in the textile industry in Zambia. They have also invested more than US$300 million into mines, manufacturing projects, construction companies, and agriculture.

  1. COBEC, a Beijing-based company, plans to rehabilitate the Kamatanda copper and cobalt

mines and three processing plants in Katanga province, Democratic Republic of Congo, in a

deal worth US$27.5 million (Jian-Ye, 2007:18).

The first discussion on trilateral cooperation between the EU, Africa and China, attempted to design a new, mutually beneficial framework for cooperation. The European multilateral and trilateral approach has, however, not really borne any substantial fruit. At the same time, analyses of Africa-China-EU triangular relations seem to converge in arguing that all parties involved share a long-term common economic and social objectives in Africa.55 (Helly, 2013:143)

Chapter conclusion


Following a first wave of concerns about China’s spectacular come back in Africa, some reaction strategies have been suggested in Brussels. The first one was the 2008 communication on trilateral cooperation between the EU, Africa and China, that attempted to design a new, mutually beneficial framework for cooperation.53 Despite ambitious objectives based on a rational assessment of the challenges at stake, the European multilateral and trilateral approach has, however, not really borne any substantial fruit.54 At the same time, analyses of Africa-China-EU triangular relations seem to converge in arguing that the Chinese government and the EU share long-term common economic and social objectives in Africa.55

  • In the concluding chapter of my dissertation I shall summarise my key findings, drawn on some of the conclusions which you have drawn from your research and my step-by-step Recommendation concerning Africa’s future based on current research .


Conclusion (1000 words)  – STRUCTURE

  A brief summary, just a few paragraphs, , related back to what you expected to see (essential);

 The conclusions which you have drawn from your research (essential);

 why your research is important for researchers and practitioners (essential);

 Recommendations for future research (strongly recommended, verging on essential);

 A final paragraph rounding off your dissertation or thesis.

Read more at: https://www.skillsyouneed.com/learn/dissertation-conclusion-extras.html

A summary of the main part of the text

A deduction made on the basis of the main body

Your personal opinion on what has been discussed

A statement about the limitations of the work

A comment about the future based on what has been discussed

The implications of the work for future research

Important facts and figures not mentioned in the main body

will this alliance be effective sustainable in the long run (will it solve underlying global issues –poverty, inequality, hunger, security

What direction should they take?

My step by step-by- step recommendation

What my dissertation has addressed? Scope for further research? (Mainly research that relies a lot on more quantitative/ qualitative research methods




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Figure 1 – How Africa is usually depicted within the media

Thousands of UN soldiers have been committed to keep the peace in the Central African Republic. bringing the conflict to a much more global scale.
Photo by World Press Photo.

Image result for africa famine advertising

2 – Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria

Image result for victoria island lagos


Figure 1 – World Human Development Index (HDI)

Figure 2 – Kingdoms and Clans within Africa pre-colonialism

Figure 3 – Map of Independence across Africa




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