Africa needs true and fair partnership and not charity, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a keynote speech at the EU parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday.
Juncker said he was proposing the establishment of a new investment alliance between Africa and Europe, which he said could create 10 million jobs in Africa in the next five years.
“Africa does not need charity; it needs true and fair partnership. And we, Europeans need this partnership just as much,” he said.
“I believe we should develop the numerous EU-African trade agreements into a continent-to-continent free trade agreement, as an economic partnership between equals.”
Juncker called Africa Europe’s “twin continent” and said the EU External Investment Plan launched in 2016 had already started work on the establishment of the trade alliance.
Observers say European nations are increasingly copying China’s approach to Africa to focus more on trade and investment rather than aid.
Last year, the EU said it was changing its aid-centered approach towards Africa to a real partnership with the continent to tackle migration and security challenges.