The European Union and Africa: Depoliticised Development and the Elusive Quest for Democracy and Security
As the negotiations for a new cooperation framework between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of states have just started, this research paper examines the historical evolution of the ideological assumptions and goals of the EU-Africa development cooperation, the problems and difficulties it encountered, and its achievements since its inception in the late 1950s. During the Cold War the relations between the European Economic Community and the African governments aimed at accelerating the economic modernisation of the African states and cementing their links with the Western bloc. However, after the end of the Cold War, the imposition of political and economic conditionalities and the subordination of development cooperation to political and security goals have led to a growing politicisation of the EU-Africa partnership. However, the notion of development at the basis of the partnership has been vaguely defined and increasingly depoliticised. The research paper shows that the insufficient attention paid to the contradictions between the promotion of the neo-liberal economic reforms on the one side and the support for human rights, democracy and security in Africa on the other side, contributed to the disarticulation of the EU-Africa partnership and undermined its effectiveness.
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