EU chief seeks new approach to Africa to counter Russia

AFP , Wednesday 13 Sep 2023

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday the bloc needs a "new strategic approach" to Africa as Russia makes strides on the continent.

EU Chief
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gives her annual State of the Union address during a plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, on September 13, 2023. AFP


"Think about the Sahel region, one of the poorest yet fastest growing demographically," the European Commission president said in her annual state of the EU address to lawmakers.

"The succession of military coups will make the region more unstable for years ahead. Russia is both influencing and benefiting from the chaos."

Von der Leyen insisted the EU needs "to show the same unity of purpose towards Africa as we have shown for Ukraine".

"We need to focus on cooperation with legitimate governments and regional organisations," she said.

The EU chief said Brussels would now work on drawing up "a new strategic approach" ahead of a future summit with the African Union.

The EU is still reeling from a coup in Niger in July, the latest to unseat a partner of the bloc in the volatile jihadist-hit region.

Moscow had made strides in recent years in strengthening ties with African governments, with Russian mercenaries playing a key role propping up a string of leaders.

The EU has struggled to convince African nations to come out against the Kremlin's war on Ukraine even as Russia's invasion has sent the price of grain higher.

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