February 3/2022/ENA/ Europe needs to improve its decision-making process in order to do more business with Africa which has huge economic potential, Czech Ambassador to Ethiopia Pavel Mikes said.
Speaking to ENA, he said the level of economic relationship between Europe and Africa has much room for development.
Since EU has 27 member countries, however, it is difficult to reach a consensus that makes our decision making less flexible, he added.
“Our friend China’s decision-making process is (nonetheless) much easier and faster that they are doing lots of business with our neighboring Africa,” the ambassador noted.
Africa is Europe’s close neighbor, less than six hour flight from the heart of Europe, while major Chinese cities are twice farther than our cities, Mikes elaborated.
However, due to fast and easy decision-making process by China, business and economic relationships between Africa and Beijing have improved faster.
He underscored that “the mistake is very much on our side and we need to improve our decision-making process.”
According to the Chinese Academy of International Trade & Economic Cooperation, China has become Africa’s largest trading partner, the fourth largest source of investment and an important development partner.
Eurostat data on the other hand reported that EU-Africa trade has been growing, but mostly with Northern Africa. EU exports of goods to Northern Africa rose from Euro 61 billion in 2010 to Euro 65 billion in 2020.
The World Bank estimates that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) with the world’s largest free trade area and a 1.2 billion-person market, would create an entirely new development path, harnessing the potential of its resources and people.
The continental free trade area will present a major opportunity for African countries to bring 30 million people out of extreme poverty and raise the incomes of 68 million others who live on less than 5.50 USD per day.