Africa Strategy: government presents integrated approach to cooperation with Africa
The Netherlands is sharpening the focus of its collaboration with Africa by investing more, more specifically, and more sustainably, in both the continent and in relations with African countries. The strategy is intended to position the Netherlands and the European Union (EU) as attractive partners for countries in Africa. Doing so will facilitate collaboration between the Netherlands and its African partners in order to address cross-border issues such as migration, trade, the energy transition, security and food security. This is how the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Liesje Schreinemacher, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra presented the Africa Strategy to the Dutch House of Representatives.
Geopolitical and geoeconomic competition
The Africa Strategy sets out the Netherlands’ approach to cooperation in Africa in the coming decade. The Netherlands enjoys good relationships with many of the 54 countries on the African continent, collaborating closely on political matters, trade and development cooperation.
At the same time, both the Netherlands and the EU face geopolitical challenges and competition with other countries expanding their influence in Africa. Examples include China’s large-scale investment in infrastructure and critical raw materials, Russia’s disruptive influence in the region, and the increasing involvement of other players such as the Gulf states. In light of these developments, the Netherlands needs to strengthen its own involvement in Africa together with the EU and other European countries.
The political, economic and security interests of European and African countries are closely intertwined. It is in the interests of countries in both Africa and the EU, including the Netherlands, to tackle and rein in conflict, violent extremism and terrorism. The EU is Africa’s most important trade partner and investor, and a major provider of development funding and humanitarian assistance. The African continent has large reserves of critical raw materials, such as lithium, cobalt and rare earth metals that are needed for the energy transition. After extraction in Africa, many of these raw materials are first transported elsewhere for processing before arriving in the EU. African countries would benefit from processing these materials themselves.
Instability and a lack of prosperity directly affect African citizens’ daily life and prospects, prompting some to seek safety or build a future away from the continent. Preventing irregular migration will therefore continue to be a major element of Dutch and European efforts in African countries.
The Africa Strategy is the Netherlands’ first integrated strategy for the African continent as a whole. One element of the strategy is an action-based agenda that translates vision and commitment into actions in the short, medium and long term. It is underpinned by an awareness of the value of understanding each other's positions and a willingness of each to support the other in the areas to which they attach importance.
The Africa Strategy is the product of broad consultations and in-depth discussions among social partners, knowledge institutions, businesses, the African diaspora, international organisations and government in the Netherlands, Europe and, above all, Africa itself.