Developing a Strategy for Africa: EU and GCC Convergences
There exists a growing consensus in the European Union (EU) that its relationship with Africa is of the utmost importance to the bloc’s future, notably in response to the pressing issues of migration, security, the climate crisis and sustainable development. Yet, despite its proximity and long historical ties to Africa, Europe has experienced a significant decline in its political and economic clout on the continent in favour of new entrants that have provided African leaders with tangible alternatives to the European partnership. The EU nonetheless seems to have acknowledged the urge to re-define its relations with Africa, as witnessed by the von der Leyen Commission’s intention to make Africa a priority on its ambitious geopolitical agenda. Considering that it has lost influence on the continent against international players, to China in particular, and given the increasing reticence of many African states to accept the conditionalities associated with the EU partnership, it is unlikely that Europe will manage to regain a leading position on its own. Consequently, the new EU leadership should seek to build alliances with potential partners to orchestrate its comeback properly.
In the last two decades, the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have significantly expanded their influence economically, politically and diplomatically on the continent. This paper argues that the GCC States are one of the better positioned international actors to help Europe maintain and enhance its position in Africa. The paper seeks to expand on that argument and to explore the potential of such a collaboration.