VIENNA – Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called on Tuesday for an increase in European investment in Africa to avoid China monopolizing its influence of the continent.
Leaders from Africa and Europe came together to discuss investment in Africa within the framework of a digital economy at the High-Level Forum Africa-Europe hosted by Austria as its first event to mark the European Union presidency.
Kurz said he saw the forum as a “good start signal for more European investment in Africa so that the African continent, when it comes to investment, isn’t just conceded to the Chinese.”
European Commission President Jean Claude Junker agreed with Kurz and said although China was ahead of Europe in terms of investment in the African continent, Europe could “do it better.”
Junker said it was never too late and the key would be to implement an investment strategy that was fair and offered equal opportunities.
The High-Level Forum is co-hosted by Austria and Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who is also chairman of the African Union for 2018, with representatives from 53 African and European countries.
Kagame defends the implementation of a single digital market for Africa and the forum is set to flesh out investment strategies for both blocs to establish sound digital and technological policies that would deepen the relationship between the EU and Africa.
Migration was not on the agenda and there were notable absences from the forum, namely the leaders of Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.