The European Union (EU) is looking for sustainable solutions to strengthen its clean technology sector and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. However, Europe faces a shortage of natural resources needed to produce these technologies, making it dependent on China. To reduce this dependence, the EU is turning to Africa, which is rich in natural resources such as lithium, cobalt, rare earths, etc.
On March 16, the European Commission presented a plan focused on “Zero Emissions Industry” to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. The goal is to create 40% of the necessary green technologies in Europe. However, the EU is facing a shortage of raw materials. The Commission therefore proposes cooperation with resource-rich countries such as Namibia and possibly the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
This situation presents an unprecedented opportunity for African countries to regain control over their own destiny. They can take advantage of this growing demand for resources to strengthen their bargaining position with Europe and other trading partners. African countries now have the opportunity to defend their interests and ensure that the partnerships established are truly fair and beneficial to their economic and social development.
Europe, for its part, must accept a more modest approach and recognize that its industrial future is heavily dependent on African resources. It is imperative that Africa demand a mutually beneficial partnership that respects environmental and social standards while guaranteeing a fair distribution of the added value created by the exploitation of these resources.
By partnering with countries with limited resources, Africa can in return receive investment in their infrastructure and improve the quality of life and sustainable development on the continent. Renewable energy projects such as hydropower, wind, solar and hydrogen are examples of investments that can spur economic growth while respecting the environment.
Europe must reinvent itself in order to exist, Africa must unite in order to recover
In conclusion, this new geopolitical dynamic offers Africa a unique opportunity to regain control of its own destiny and become a key player in global negotiations over natural resources. For Europe, this is an opportunity to rethink its relationship with the African continent and start a more balanced and respectful cooperation in order to guarantee a sustainable future. Compared to China, India and the US, Europe does not carry much weight. An aging population, major economic crises, tensions in sections of the population, especially in France, not to mention the lack of natural resources, resources available to the US and China. All of these reasons should push the continent to rethink its strategy before it’s too late.