Africa “is not the only place where Europe’s influence is on the wane, and we should accept it,” Andris Piebalgs, the European Union’s development minister told The Associated Press at the summit. He said Europe needed “to learn from the positive Chinese experience.”
The tables have turned on the French in Africa, once at the heart of its colonial empire.
Paris is now leading a European bid to complement hefty aid with increased trade by private companies in Africa where French and other European languages are still a second tongue in many countries — but where one increasingly hears Chinese. The summit coincided with the 50th anniversary of independence for 14 former French colonies.
Hard figures on investment are difficult to come by. China does not issue reports on all its investments, nor do many African countries. But the dramatic increase in economic ties can be seen in trade figures.