Covid 19. Transport restrictions tighten relations between Africa and Europe

Frammenti Africani

Frammenti Africani è un resoconto giornalistico di tematiche complesse del Continente Africano, futuro epicentro economico mondiale, dove coesistono potenze economiche e militari, crescita economica a due cifre, guerre, colpi di stato, masse di giovani disoccupati e una borghesia in piena crescita.
Un mosaico di situazioni contraddittorie documentate da testimonianze di prima mano e accuratamente analizzate per offrire un'informazione approfondita sulla politica, economia e scoperte scientifiche di un mondo in evoluzione pieno di paradossi.

Fulvio Beltrami

Fulvio Beltrami
Originario del Nord Italia, sposato con un'africana, da dieci anni vivo in Africa, prima a Nairobi ora a Kampala. Ho lavorato nell’ambito degli aiuti umanitari in vari paesi dell'Africa e dell'Asia.
Da qualche anno ho deciso di condividere la mia conoscenza della Regione dei Grandi Laghi (Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, ed Est del Congo RDC) scrivendo articoli sulla regione pubblicati in vari siti web di informazione, come Dillinger, FaiNotizia, African Voices. Dal 2007 ho iniziato la mia carriera professionale come reporter per l’Africa Orientale e Occidentale per L’Indro.
Le fonti delle notizie sono accuratamente scelte tra i mass media regionali, fonti dirette e testimonianze. Un'accurata ricerca dei contesti storici, culturali, sociali e politici è alla base di ogni articolo.

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Covid 19. Transport restrictions tighten relations between Africa and Europe

The European Union has decided to reopen the Shengen area to only 4 African countries, two of which: Algeria and Morocco which have a high number of infections compared to the African average. African countries have reacted with disdain and #Senegal has started to apply the right of reciprocity with a temporary ban on entry for European citizens from Europe. Particularly affected will be many French, Spanish and Italian entrepreneurs, as well as humanitarian workers from NGOs. The decision taken by the UE increasingly limits the possibility for Africans to come to Europe legally, thus increasing the business of human traffickers and illegal immigration. The limitations, if not revised, risk seriously compromising economic relations between Europe and Africa

di Fulvio Beltrami

covid19, africa, europe, migration, trade agreements, fortress europe, racism, pandemic

Fulvio Beltrami 18 July 2020

Reopening of Senegal's airspace. Following the European Union's decision to oust Senegal from the second list of countries authorized to enter its airspace, the State of Senegal takes the following decision. The principle of reciprocity will be applied to all States that have taken restrictive measures against Senegal "reads the press release of Thursday 16 July signed by the Minister of Tourism and Air Transport Alioune Sarr.

This decision to limit the entry of European citizens was made by one of the most avant-garde African governments in immigration policies, based on the principle of "open doors". Citizens of various EU governments do not pay an entry visa and can reside in the country for a year without any problems. After which they must request a foreign identity card, specifying the reason for the extended stay. In addition to a subordinate job or for business reasons, the European citizen is authorized to reside in Senegal also for "sentimental" reasons towards the country on conditions that demonstrate having a permanent residence, a current account in Senegal proving his financial ability to sustaining.

The effects of the decision taken by the Dakar government were immediate. Our compatriot Beatrice Bianchi on the Facebook page "Italians in Dakar" describes a situation from Dante's hell at the Paris airport. "Me and the other Italian and European citizens in Paris this afternoon saw us refusing boarding from Air France because they did not have a Senegalese passport or special boarding authorization issued by the Senegalese border police. We are all stuck here including Senegalese with non Senegalese passports. Almost a fight broke out at the airport but there was nothing to do. "

The harsh measure restricting the entry of European citizens is the direct cause of the decision taken by the European Union on 27 June to limit entry into the Shengen area to only 4 African countries: Algeria, Morocco, Rwanda and Tunisia. Citizens of 14 other non-African countries are allowed to enter Europe: Andorra, Australia, Canada, South Korea, Georgia, Japan, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Serbia, San Marino, Talilandia, Vatican and Uruguay. The entry of Chinese citizens is conditioned by international reciprocity law. Any EU member state that is excluded from entering its citizens can freely decide to apply this right. The United States is currently blacklisted.

The decision to limit entry to the Shengen area would have been made according to epidemiological criteria considering the rate of new cases of contagion which must have a proportion of 16 for every 100,000 inhabitants. The list is subject to revision every two weeks.

As for Africa, there is a mystery. On June 26, (one day before the drafting of the official list), African countries without restrictions on entry into Europe were 11, as the journalist Fabio Scala informs on Futherafrica. Com. The initial list (considered a draft) provided for the possibility of entry to Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Ethiopia, Morocco, Namibia, Rwanda, Tunizia, Uganda and Zambia. 24 hours later the list was reduced from 11 to 4 African countries

A decision certainly not based on the percentage of infections, as the European Union declares, given that Algeria has 17,348 infections and Morocco 14,771 while Angola, Namibia, Uganda and Zambia (included in the draft of the day before) count respectively: 396, 593, 977 and 1,895 cases of contagion.

The decision has created strong criticism from all the excluded African countries that now threaten to apply reciprocity by preventing Europeans from arriving in their countries on the basis of a simple calculation: the number of infections recorded in Europe is almost 7 times higher than that registered in Africa.

The majority of African countries excluded from the European Union also point out that it was European (and not Chinese) citizens who brought the virus to the continent last March. The EU decision risks jeopardizing already weakened relations with Africa, if we examine the likely economic "reset" that will induce the post-pandemic world crisis, a topic that has not been dealt with so far.

Senegal was the first country to apply international reciprocity law. A targeted decision as the country is vital for European investors from France, Italy and Spain. With this limitation, the Dakar government intends to put pressure on the European Union to include Senegal in the biweekly updates of the permits to enter the Shengen area.

It should be noted that the Senegalese government has become an example for all of West Africa of good management of the Coronavirus pandemic. By avoiding total lockdown in order not to damage the economy and the weaker sections of the population, the Dakar government has managed to contain the spread of the virus. Thanks to the timely prevention and containment policies of Covid19, Senegal has recorded 8,369 cases of contagion and 153 deaths since last March. If the impact of the pandemics on the total population (15,850,000 inhabitants) is calculated, the contagion percentage is 0.053% while the mortality rate on contagion cases is 1.82%.

Whatever the external factors (climatic, population age, genetics, etc.) that have spared the continent, the WHO data are clear. To date (17 July 2020) the number of infected people in Africa is 523,403 while deaths 8,819. Percentages not even comparable to other continents: Americas (North South) 7,016,851 infections 294,301 deaths; Mediterranean 1,331,893 cases 32,776 deaths; Europe 2,987,256 cases 205,006 deaths, South East Asia 1,268,923 cases 31,297 deaths

The war on pandemic-related migration flows that is emerging aggravates the already tense relations between Europe and Africa, as pointed out by Nich Westcott, director of the Royal Africa Society of London, during a web seminar organized by the London Oveseas Development Institute. "The Covid19 pandemic is exacerbating relations between Africa and Europe. Relationships inserted in the context of a struggle between world powers over the influence on Africa ".

A European Union - African Union summit should be held in Brussels next October in order to define partnership relations between Europe and Africa. A vital summit given that for 6 years the economic treaties between the EU and Africa have expired and have not been renewed by the majority of African countries, forcing European countries to create bilateral agreements. The decision not to renew them is based on the concept that the European Union intends to continue with the economic policy defined by African economists: "colonial economy". An economy based on the export of African raw materials to Europe and the import of European finished products in Africa.

Most African countries intend to start the industrial revolution, taking advantage of the abundance of natural resources on the continent. So you need factories capable of working iron and other minerals for industry, agro-food factories, refineries to produce fuel on site. Until now, Europe and the United States have refused to participate in the African industrial revolution dream, preferring to prefer the so-called "colonial economy".

In an effort to persuade the signing of partnership agreements, the European Commission last year earmarked € 502 million in emergency medical aid for the Covid19 pandemic in Africa and € 2.8 billion in long-term aid to strengthen research. sanitation, public health systems and access to drinking water.

Funds accepted by African governments but not appreciated because the request for cancellation of the foreign debt contracted (44 billion dollars) has not yet been accepted by the European Union. In April, the G20s offered Africa a freeze on debt and interest payments for 2020.

The trade agreements between Africa and the United States have also been on standby for 6 years for the same reasons that block the signing of agreements with the European Union. A stalemate that the Trumb Administration seems not to worry about as the policy of economic isolationism prevails.

Britain (leaving the European Union) is looking at Africa from a different perspective. Facilitated by the fact that various African countries are part of the Commonwealth, Boris Johnson's government seems willing to direct aid and trade towards African economic guidelines aimed at bringing about the industrial revolution.

The exclusion from the Shengen area of ​​ 50 on the 54 countries that make up Africa, if it is not reviewed as soon as possible, will compromise a desirable trade agreement of the EU - AU summit next October. If this migration policy, associated with health precautions, were to continue, the presence of foreign humanitarian actors from European NGOs operating in Africa would also be at risk.

The need to review the migration policies related to the pandemic by the European Union is made even more urgent by the date of entry into force of the ACFTA (African Continental Free Trade Area) scheduled for January 2021. The first date had been scheduled for this month (July) but postponed due to the pandemic.

The European Union risks being excluded from ACFTA, while its most feared commercial competitor: China is already an integral part of it through the financing of road, rail, port and airport infrastructures (connected to the world project of the New Silk Road) and having started by relocating part of its industrial unit from China to Africa to produce "Made in China" disguised as "Made in Africa". The loss of Africa would represent a fatal blow for Europe that could accelerate the already evident and undeniable process of economic, social and moral decline of the Old Continent.

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