This study examined the European Union, EU and challenges of African development. Specifically, the study ascertained if the increasing rate of EU African relations has increased the volume of trade between EU and Africa and secondly, ascertained if the increasing rate of EU-African relations has increased the volume of foreign direct investment from EU states to Africa. The study interrogated the following research questions. First, has the increasing rate of EU-African relations increased the volume of trade between EU and Africa? Second, has the increasing rate of EU-African relations increased the volume of foreign direct investment (FDI) from EU states to Africa? The theory of complex interdependence was chosen as our theoretical framework. Our choice of the theory is because of its ability to highlight cooperative actions among states and facilitate deep understanding of global patterns of interrelationship. The study relied on secondary sources of data, and as such generated both qualitative and quantitative data. After a critical analysis of available data, the study revealed as follows: first, the increasing rate of EU-African relations has increased the volume of trade between EU and Africa. Second, the increasing rate of EU-African relations has increased the volume of foreign direct investment from EU states to Africa. Based on these findings, the study is of the view that Africa as a continent should deepen the rate of economic activities between her and EU in order to attract more FDI and trade deals. Further, Africa should cultivate, and compete for, foreign direct investment inflows to bridge their domestic saving-investment gap and therefore augment the available funds to finance development process through bilateral investment agreements like their developing countries counterpart in other regions.


Title page —i
Certification ————————————————————————-ii
Dedication ————————————————————————–iii
Acknowledgement —————————————————————–iv
Table of Contents —————————————————————— v
List of Tables and Diagrams —————————————————–vii
List of Abbreviations —————————————————————ix
Abstract ——————————————————————————-x


1.1 Background to the Study —————————————————-1
1.2 Statement of the Problem —————————————————-3
1.3 Objectives of the Study ——————————————————-5
1.4 Significance of the Study —————————————————–5
1.5 Literature Review—————————————————————6
1.6 Theoretical Framework——————————————————-21
1.7 Hypotheses ——————————————————————–24
1.8 Methods of Data Collection and Analysis———————————24


2.1 History and Development of European Union—————————26
2.2 Organs and Institutions of European Union—————————–42
2.3 History and Development of European Union-African Relations——44


3.1 EU Trade Policy Towards ACP Countries———————————54
3.2 EU Trade in Goods and Services in Africa——————————–58


4.1 Rational for Foreign Direct Investment ———————————–68
4.2 Why FDI is Important to Africa——————————————–70
4.3 Initiatives taken by African countries to attract FDI——————–72
4.4 Incidence of FDI Inflow from EU into Africa —————————–75


5.1 Summary and Conclusion ————————————————86
Bibliography —————————————————————–89


International relations are undergoing profound change with newly emerging powers entering the scene. The European Union is itself an “emerging” foreign policy actor, hoping to reinforce its political influence in order to match its weight as global development actor (2007). The European Union, (EU), is an international economic organization comprising some advanced countries of the north, which originally included France, West Germany, Belgium, Italy, Luxemburg and the Netherlands. It has however, to include twenty one (21), other countries namely, Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and  United Kingdom. Through a conglomeration of the African, Caribbean and Pacific, (ACP), group of states which today number seventy nine, (79), (48 African, 16 Caribbean and 15 Pacific) countries are associated with the EU.

As a result of the Cold War, Europe took so much interest in the affairs of Africa coupled with the fact that most of the African countries were colonized by Major European powers and dependent on them. It is also believed that Euro-African relations arises by default. According to John (1995:95):

Africa’s dependence on Europe also arises by default, that is, from the failure of African countries to diversify to any significant degree their trading links in the three decades since most states received their independence…And Africa’s economic decline makes the continent an attractive prospect as trading partner.

Europe, preoccupied with the its own problems as it moved toward the establishment of a single integrated market in 1992 and with the growing instability on its eastern borders following the disintegration of the Soviet Bloc, appeared, in the early 1990s, to have lost enthusiasm for the development compact with Africa. Following the end of the Cold War, it seemed that the EU and its Member States were losing interest in Africa. At the level of the bilateral policies of the Member States, France, the United Kingdom, and numerous other countries in Europe cut substantially the level of their development programmes (Fredrik, 2007).

In fact, John (1995:96) observed that:

Even France, long the champion of increased assistance to Africa within the European Union, seemed to be tiring of the cost of supporting its sphere of influence.

However, since international politics is shaped by the underlying global dynamics and the political context of each continent. The relationship appears to be on the resurgence. With the beginning of the new century, the collective commitment to double aid to Africa and to enhance its effectiveness has increased among members of the EU. The 2000 Lomé Agreements – renamed Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA) has become the main legal framework of cooperation between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). The first EU-Africa Heads of State Summit in 2000, in Cairo, recognised the need for a new high-level political relationship between the two continents and professed a new standard of multilateral cooperation that would not be based on the usual post-colonial perspectives and donor-recipient philosophy (Andrew, 2010).

Further, the adoption of the European Consensus on Development, the ambitious agenda on policy coherence for development marked a change in the EU’s approach to international development. On the other hand, the process towards a ‘common’ strategy for Africa, which culminated in the Joint Africa-EU Strategy adopted in Lisbon in December 2007, meant that the EU was trying to play a leading role in the international arena (Fredrik, 2009).

Africa, therefore, became central not only to the EU’s development policy, but, more widely, to its overall external affairs. This study has been designed to critically evaluate the European Union and challenges of development in Africa.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Europe’s relationship with Africa is not new. It is deeply rooted in history and has gradually evolved from often painful colonial arrangements into a strong and equal partnership based on common interests, mutual recognition and accountability. Europe and Africa are connected by strong trade links, making the EU the biggest export market for African products. For example, approximately 85% of Africa’s exports of cotton, fruit and vegetables are imported by the EU. Europe and Africa are also bound by substantial and predictable aid flows. In 2003 the EU’s development aid to Africa totalled €15 billion, compared to €5 billion in 1985. With this, the EU is by far the biggest donor: its ODA accounts for 60% of the total Official development Assistance, ODA going to Africa (see Commission of the European Communities, 2005).

Moreover, some EU Member States retain longstanding political, economic and cultural links with different African countries and regions, while others are relative newcomers to African politics and development. At Community level, over the last few decades the European Commission has built up extensive experience and concluded a number of contractual arrangements with different parts of Africa that provide partners with a solid foundation of predictability and security.

However, for too long the EU’s relations with Africa have been too fragmented, both in policy formulation and implementation: between the different policies and actions of EU Member States and the European Commission; between trade cooperation and economic development cooperation; between more traditional socio-economic development efforts and strategic political policies. Neither Europe nor Africa can afford to sustain this situation and in December 2005, the European Union made a decisive effort to define a more strategic platform for its relations with Africa, aiming at a mutually beneficial partnership.

Against this backdrop and building on the work of the first Africa-EU summit in Cairo in 2000, leaders from both continents decided to move cooperation to a new level in 2007. At the Lisbon Summit, 80 Heads of States and Government from Europe (27) and Africa (53) agreed to pursue common interests and strategic objectives together, beyond the focus of traditional development policy. To do so, they adopted the Joint Africa-EU Strategy which redefines the relations between the two continents for tackling global challenges together. In the context of the Strategy, the first action plan covering the period 2008-2010 and introducing concrete measures was structured around eight strategic partnerships: As noted by the EuroBarometer (2010), the areas of strategic partnership are:

  1. Peace and security
  2. Democratic governance and human rights
  3. Trade, regional integration and infrastructure
  4. Millennium development goals (MDGs)
  5. Energy
  6. Climate change
  7. Migration, mobility and employment
  8. Science, information society and space

However, studies in Africa’s relations such as Adogamhe, (2006); Princeton (1988); Diamond (1995); George (2006); Cornelissens (2000); De Lorenzo (2007); with the rest of the world has always centered on her relations with America, with specific countries within the EU and more recently with China. This does not help us to understand the trajectory and dynamics of Africa-EU relations. More fundamentally, this has glossed over the role of EU in Africa’s development. Hence, this forms the lacuna in literature that we seek to bridge. This study therefore, sets out to critically appraise the EU and its role in development in Africa.

In the light of the above discussions, we pose the following research questions:

  • Has the increasing rate of EU-African relations increased the volume of trade between EU and Africa?
  • Has the increasing rate of EU-African relations increased the volume of foreign direct investment (FDI) from EU states to Africa?

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to critically appraise the EU and development in Africa. Specifically, this study has the following objectives:

  • To ascertain if the increasing rate of EU-Africa relations has increased the volume of trade between EU and Africa.
  • To ascertain if the increasing rate of EU-Africa relations has increased the volume of foreign direct investment from EU states to Africa.

1.4 Significance of the Study

The study has both practical and theoretical significance. Practically, the study will guide policy makers of African states in their relations with the external environment and in their domestic policy making and implementation process to develop effective ways in its relation with other continents of the world. Further, as no nation in Africa is static and every generation has its own unique problems, this work will serve as a catalyst to the present and future generations of Africa to deepen Africa’s relations with EU knowing that we are presently in an interdependent world.

Theoretically, this study will provide students of international relations with new knowledge on Africa-EU relations. The study will equally add to existing literature on Africa-EU relations and expectedly, provoke further research on the subject matter.

1.5 Literature Review

In this section, our primary concern is to concentrate on existing literature in relation to the subject matter of our research questions with a view to understanding what scholars have already written or what have not been properly and satisfactorily addressed in the literature concerning the discourse under investigation. In this context, the major thrust of our review shall concentrate on:

  1. EU-African Relations and trade.
  2. EU-African Relations and foreign direct investment.

EU-African Relations and Trade

Anne (2003) noted that from the EU’s perspective, one way of easing the political tension and persuading African governments of the good intensions of European donors would be to give a clearer sign that the EU does indeed view the relationship with Africa as a valuable and equal partnership rather than what many African leaders seem to think, as a one-way stream of paternalistic charitability, thinly camouflaging self-interested economic policies. This could be done by focusing less on aid, and more on other factors that promote development – particularly trade, but also migration. She further observed that while bad governance is a hindrance to economic growth, it is also the case that economic sluggishness is a hindrance to democracy and good governance. There is general agreement that aid is not the best way to create economic growth. The EU would therefore do well to focus more on other strategies than aid in their quest to assist Africa’s development.

Greg (2003) looking at the linkage between aid from EU and good governance in Africa observed that most governments in Africa today have had their leadership endorsed through some form of democratic election. Many of them find it problematic that they then should have to follow the standards set by outsiders rather than themselves when it comes to how they choose to run their country. Even when the standards are very similar to the ones that they endorse themselves, it is often seen as a dent in their sovereign pride to have to endure others imposing these standards in the form of demands and conditions. While it is, in principle, entirely voluntary whether to accept conditional aid or not, in reality most poor African countries are highly dependent on aid money and would find it difficult .This leads us to a discussion of the political problem of sovereignty caused by the good governance agenda of donor states to say no. He said that in 1996, foreign aid constituted the equivalent of 12.3 percent of GDP in Africa, if we exclude Nigeria and South Africa.

Ian (2009) in exploring how changes within Africa have influenced the evolution of the EU-Africa relations opines that  the beginning of the 2000s, a developmental agenda was advanced by leading African elites aimed at revitalising Africa’s place in the global political economy. The NEPAD, launched in 2001, was received with considerable enthusiasm in some quarters of the developed world as an African-led initiative that would provide the framework for promoting development in Africa. The African Union (AU), launched in 2002, effectively replacing the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) which had been the premier continental organisation in Africa, was an ambitious project, but fraught with all sorts of difficulties. It is difficult, for example, to see how such vitally needed unity could be achieved, given the current tensions that continue to wrack Africa. Both the AU and the NEPAD have been launched at a time when there has been a growing questioning of the basic neo-liberal philosophy that underpins contemporary capitalism, frequently cast within the catch-all term ‘globalisation’.

He further infers that observers may proffer the view that this juncture opens up space for Africa and that perhaps the AU and the NEPAD may be vehicles to advance this. Such a commitment has been agreed and signed by African elites themselves and there can be no retreat. Even though the AU takes as its departure the European Union as the ultimate end game, it must be seen as an internally originated institution deserving of particular attention and scrutiny. In the same vein however, its commitments need to be measured against actual concrete action rather than accepting at face value the various pronouncements made on extremely important issues.

On the part of Richard (2009) the EU’s engagement with Sub-Saharan Africa  have been a characteristic of the development of the Union’s foreign, security and defence policies since the 1990s. The EU’s policies pursued Sub-Saharan Africa have played a key role in developing both the form of the EU’s foreign policy infrastructure and its instruments and, crucially, in the forms of military intervention that the EU has undertaken outside of Europe. He argues that argues that Sub-Saharan Africa has provided a crucial component in the evolution of an embryonic strategic culture for the EU.

Nugent (1996) devoted a considerable part of his work to the events that led to the formation of the EU, formerly known as the EEC. He observed that the 1957 treaty of Rome which set up the then EEC is in consonance with the ideas and burning desire of Europe to improve the world economy most especially the economy of the third world. He further discussed the politics that goes on in the EU between the more developed and less developed member states. Britain, France, Italy, and Germany were specifically mentioned as power brokers in the EU. Nugent’s analysis was so much faulted because he dwelt much on the contributions made by individual European nations towards the formation of the EEC and failed to illustrate how the EU would help to improve the third world economy.

Weigall and Stirk (1997) traced the origin of the EU to the EEC, although they made no attempt to provide solutions towards the economic problems of much of the third world. However, they offered a very detailed analysis of the EU and how it works. The duo described the foundation, structure and all the functions of the EU. Weigll and Stirk also examined EU policies and resolution of trade disputes between and among member states or any other organ of the (EU) body. The work also reviewed the process of “dialogue and détente”. The writers observed that the European Union has become a tool in the hands of more powerful members.

The EEC (EU) is a compromise between a weakened original six and self-asserting latecomers. Britain falls into the later category according to Leonard (1990). Leonard examined the composition of the EEC and the place of each member state in it. As at the time Leonard published his book, the EU was still known as the EEC and was made up of twelve European nations. Leonard asserted that Britain, with states like France, Italy, and Germany has become dominate in the EEC and calls the shot. He also appointed out that the leadership of the European commission and parliament has generally resided with the original six, though the self-asserting latecomer sates have from time to time asserted their influence. In leonard’s words, “this derives partly from the often outstanding ability of their representatives and their degree of organization”. He posited that all EEC (EU) member states are firmly committed to the eradication of poverty from Africa. However, this assertion is seriously doubt and subject to debate. He equally argued that the mere existence of the EEC has created a sense of unity and solidarity among member states especially in international issues, despite their very real differences.

Rodney (1972) provides insight into how the underdevelopment of Africa and the development of Europe are two sides of the same coin. The development of Europe he asserts was possible because of the enormous loss of both human and material resources of Africa to Europe. Historically, this systematic sapping of Africa by Europe occured during the era of slavery and colonialism down to the present neo-colonial period. He shows that the pendulum has always swung against Africa. Thus, Africa’s underdevelopment is diametrically related to European development. His argument is that:

The Europeans slave trade and the overseas trade in general had what is known as multiplier effects on Europe’s economy in a very positive sense. This means that the benefits of foreign contacts extends to many areas of European life not directly connected with foreign trade…the positive was true to Africa no only on the crucial sphere technology, but also with regard to the size and purpose of each economy in Africa (Rodney, 1972:118).

EU-African Relations and Foreign Direct Investment

According to Lodge (1990), the EU was out to exploit the third world while protecting its own sphere of influence from intruders. She also observed that the ideology behind the wide open. She finally predicted that the Europe in the years to come become a super power. In lodge’s words, “if Europe is defined broadly, its population, territory, wealth, and technological prowess are clearly adequate to such a prospect”. According to lodge, the economic and technological capacity to sustain a single European super power is in place, if it could be mobilized. It is unity, community, governance, and perhaps “will and idea” that now falls short that will do that.

Lodge’s analysis of the EU institutions is very incisive, being a former employee of the European commission and of African descent. However, at some point in the work, lodge started to sound emotional though this is understandable having been sacked by the European commission under controversial circumstances.

The structure of Euro-Africa relationship was traced as far back as 1949 when the first meetings of the council of Europe, (when European countries were still primarily concerned with their post-war reconstruction) were held (Okigbo, 1967). He concentrated his study on Europe’s relations with Africa as a whole. He was to wind up his study with a call for the establishment of an Africa common market.  Okigbo’s works is interesting because of it’s indepth discussion on the existing relationship between Africa and European community. His observation that the way out of this continued exploitation of African countries by the EEC lies in her formation of a common front to confront the Europeans is worth considering by African leaders. The major problem that has continued to plague Africa’s development efforts is the lack of intra-African economic relations and total dependence of African states on Europe for economic survival.

Ake (1978) looked at the issue of Africa’s underdevelopment vis-à-vis Europe’s development. His works are of immense benefit to this study because of the background information they provide on European community and Africa, the exploitative relationship, which they exposed in the Europe-African relations still continues under the present dispensation. If there is any change, it is that instead of the exploitation being done by individual European countries, it is now under the collective strategy of the European Economic Community.

Afolabi (1986), in his own contributions on the Nigeria-European relations, traces the historical origins of Nigeria and European Economic Community in which he asserts that the economic interactions between Nigeria and EEC were conducted via the approval of the United Kingdom the erstwhile imperial power, since Britain had not made up her mind to join the EEC. He looked into the existing pattern of economic and relations of the continent of Africa and the community member states. He is of the view that Nigeria and other African countries stand to gain from their cooperation with EU through the Lome Convention in the area of trade, industry and finance. He pointed out that the imbalance in the trade relations between Nigeria and Europe community member states is attributable to Nigeria’s industrial underdevelopment. He called for Nigeria’s stronger tie with the European community especially then that the integration of Europe seemed eminent. In his words. “..Our approach should whilst not undermining the benefits, lay greater emphasis on our relations with the community as an essential element of Nigeria’s foreign policy”. (Afolabi, 1986:54).

He advocated for a stronger tie between Nigeria and the European Economic Community as a strategy for Nigeria’s development but he failed to clear the issue of whether actually, the economic relations between Nigeria and the Community has been truly beneficial to Nigeria, and why Nigeria has not been able to overcome her industrial underdevelopment which he reasoned was responsible for the existing imbalance between the two. The lack of industrial development of Nigeria rather than being responsible for the imbalance is a by-product of such relations with the community. It is the manifestation of the exploitation of Nigeria by the community in their economic relations, which leaves her more underdeveloped. However, the work is relevant for the insight it provides on the nature of the African-European community relations with special reference to Nigeria. Also, his recognition of the imbalance that exists in the trade relations between the two continents is in order.

Asobie (1983) also examined Nigeria-European community relationship. Apart from explaining Nigeria’s ambivalence in its attitude to the EEC at earlier stage and why such rejection of association was later reversed, it sought to know how the operation of Lome Convention negated Nigeria’s national interest. The reversal of earlier decision represented a gradual surrender to external pressure as well as the working out of dynamics of Nigeria’s political economy.

He observed that the association is detrimental to Nigeria’s economic interest because Nigeria’s decision to associate with the EEC is informed more by political rather than economic reasons. But he doubts the political and diplomatic imperative of associating with the EEC as Nigeria’s leadership role in the third world will be damaged due to the fact that such an association brings about decisive tendencies among the third world countries. According to him, such association will only help in disintegrating any solidarity movement amongst them through consolidating Africa’s vertical integration with Europe.

Ogunremi (1989) discussed the Euro-African economic relations in general. He did not confine his discussion only to that of European community. He noted that the economics and essentially trade are the central issue, which the relationship between Africa and Europe revolves around. This assertion is in line with Hopkins’ (1986) idea that “trade first brought Europeans to Africa in the fifteenth century and trade has remained the basis of their relations with the continent from then onwards”. But this trade with Europe, he pointed out, has always been disadvantageous to Africa since the earliest trade contact. Hopkins noted that this because the items of trade have always been determined by the Europeans to suit their industrial development interests. For instance, he argues that when industrial revolution occurred in Europe, they felt that trading in slave was no more profitable and therefore initiated the trade in industrial raw materials to feed their industries. He sees this trade relation as being responsible for Africa’s underdevelopment.

It is a lamentable but certain fact that Africa has hitherto been sacrificed to our West Indian colonies. She has been confined to a trade, which seems to preclude all advancement in civilization (Ogunremi, 1989:56).

He posited that the future relationship between the two continents my depend largely on Europe’s attitude to Africa and so suggested that Europe should use her technological advancement to the advantage of Africa and that the two continents begin to see each other as partners in progress. Finally, he called on African states to integrate and deal with Europe as a body not separately.

Arghiri (1972) in his study, made a scholarly exposition of the unequal exchange and transaction between the North and the South. He delved into the issue of international trade transaction between countries of the South specializing in primary commodities and those of the North whose chief exports are manufactured goods. The study portrayed two views. There are those who hold the view that there was a long-term deterioration in the terms of trade of the developing countries, and those of the opposite view, who believe that there was no such deterioration in terms of trade and that actually, there was an improvement in terms of trade of the developing countries.

Arghiri supported the view of deterioration but differed as to the causes and mechanism of the deterioration, which for him, are joined in the unequal exchange that takes place between the advanced industrialized countries and the developing countries. He used statistical figures and quantification of empirical data to substantiate his view that the imperialism exploits of the underdeveloped countries are primarily through the instrumentalities of trade rather than through investments and repatriation of profits.

On the problems of underdevelopment and instability in Africa using Nigeria as a case study, Klausen (1999) argued that uncontrolled population growth in African continent is the cause of her backwardness. According to him, “The unprecedented high rate of population growth has a considerable effect on the development of Nigeria” (Klausen, 1999:14). Klausen saw the Western European nations through the EU as rendering developmental services to the Nigeria state. He contended that the serious economic problems of Nigeria have prompted the western industrialized countries to take special measures. Nigeria has better access to its markets than other African countries. He argued that the only hindrance Nigeria has in competing effectively in the international trade is her over-reliance on oil and agricultural product instead of manufactured goods.

Most literatures such as Nweke (1986); Obiukwu (1987); have also tended to analyze Nigeria’s foreign policy and diplomatic relations in terms of the internal and domestic variables that influence it. However, this tendency is very myopic since domestic factors alone do not shape the external behavior of states in international politics. This is because no state operates in the international political scene in isolation of other states. It is a world of inter-dependence and inter-connectedness.

Gambari (1980) saw Nigeria’s foreign policy more as a consequence of the domestic politics than any other factor. He discussed Nigeria’s foreign policy in the first republic and saw the defect in her foreign policy as a result of the conflicts between the various political parties of that period and argued that Nigeria was always sitting on the fence on most issues and that her African posture on independence is a manifestation of the internal contradictions of Nigerian politics. Gambari’s study focused on foreign policy positions of the various political parties in Nigeria’s first republic rather than on analysis of the foreign policy of Nigerian government. Gambari endorsed the principle of “concentric circle”, in Nigeria’s foreign policy objectives, when he was Minister for Eternal Affairs. The principle emphasized Nigerian, African and World interests in that order.

In Akinyemi’s analysis of the foreign policy of Murtala/Obasanjo regime, he went into what he referred to as the environmental background to the foreign policy system, which the regime inherited. These were the pro-western nature of Balewa’s government, experiences of The Nigerian civil war, and the reconciliatory nature of the Gowon administration. He noted that, “Murthla /Obasanjo regime had to overhaul Gowon’s foreign policy so as to justify their taking over of power especially as Gowon’s foreign policy exhibited lack of tardiness  in decision taking” (Akinyemi, 1979:153)

Aluko (1981) surveyed Nigeria’s foreign policy initiatives with particular reference to the O. A. U. He traced Nigeria’s role in the O. A. U in the first ten years of the organization. He argued that during the first half of the period, Nigeria’s role was not commensurate with her size and economic potentials. She changed from vying for the O. A. U leadership to that of a kingmaker.

Obasanjo and Oville (1990) observed that Nigeria’s foreign policy in the years after the unification of Europe in 1992, would take a dramatic  turn. They recounted how the 1957 treaty of Rome, which gave birth of the E. E. C. came about. The duo equally examined Nigeria’s relationship with the E. E. C. and concluded that the impact of the E. E. C on Nigeria is enormous especially as regards foreign policy.

The authors believed that Nigeria’s economy would be on a downward trend if she does not consider her national interest in her association with the community. To really benefit maximally from the E. E. C. under the umbrella of A. C. P group of countries, Obasanjo and D. Oville advises that Nigeria should become more strong in her diplomatic bargaining.

Discussing the alternative standards in Nigeria’s economic diplomacy, 1960-1985, Asobie (1991) noted that since 1960, successive Nigerian governments have demonstrated an appreciation of linkage between the country’s foreign policy and her economic circumstances. Asobie also looked at how this linkages was conceived and the policies deriving therefrom, however, differed, though not necessarily from regime to regime. Overall from 1960 to 1985, he pointed out three overlapping patterns or strands of strategies, which emerged in the history of Nigeria’s economic diplomacy. These, Asobie noted are:

  1. The diplomacy of dependent import substitution – industrialization ( I. S. I) 1960-1974
  2. The diplomacy of regional economic integration (R. E. I) 1970-1985, and
  3. the diplomacy of the establishment of a New International Economic Order (N. I. E. O) 1973-1985

The then Nigerian Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, in appreciation of the link between Nigerian’s industrial development and her external relations formulated clearly, the classical dilemma, which confronted Nigeria at the time. He defined the problem in this way.

At the present, we lack the necessary capital and technical skill to d3evlop our resources by ourselves alone,… How are we to o9btain help from outside and still keep free from being under the influence of one power bloc or another (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1961:3).

The Council of European Union (2005) examined strategies the European Union will take with Africa between now and 2015 to support African efforts to build a future. It is a strategy of the whole of the EU for the whole of Africa. It takes into account regional and country-specific needs and African countries’ national strategies. Its primary aims are the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the promotion of sustainable development, security and good governance, in Africa.  The strategy builds on important progress made by the Africans themselves. Its core principles are partnership based on international law and human rights, equality and mutual accountability. Its underlying philosophy is African ownership and responsibility, including working through African institutions.

Ondrej and Philippe (2006) after bemoaning the state of the African country, appealed to the European Union to help Africa overcome its challenges. According to them, if there are still some reasons for afro-pessimism, they are nourished by worries that many countries in sub-Saharan Africa will not achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. In fact, Africa is the only region in the world where poverty has progressed since 1990. Today, almost one African out of two lives on less than one euro a day. Two out of five do not have access to improved water supply, and the coordination of the common policy on Africa at various levels of intervention. The enlarged European Union is supposed to assist African countries in their fight against poverty. It has to keep its promise to Africans to retain credibility in their eyes.

Sven et al (2009) examined EU and the challenges it faces with emerging new actors in the international community and the prospects for European Union development co-operation in the period up to 2020. They noted that in the past 10-15 years, the established development donors in the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) have forged a consensus about what aid is for, where it should be best directed and how it should be managed. With the increasing salience of a variety of new actors in international development, both governmental and nongovernmental, this consensus is being challenged at a time when aid budgets are under threat and when there are other new challenges for development cooperation, not least climate change.

Awil (2009) observed that democracy-building in Africa through the mediation of the African diaspora in Europe is not a priority on the agenda of the European Union (EU). According to him:

Indeed, it has failed even to gain the political attention of those EU member states where diaspora organizations and institutions can be actively mobilized in democracy-building efforts in Africa. This is primarily because the role that African diasporas play in democracy-building on the continent is an area which has not yet been sufficiently studied. The lack of a solid knowledge base on the subject hinders the EU and its member states from formulating appropriate policies that can be translated into feasible strategic interventions and realizable actions (Awil, 2009:3).

He goes further to state that the human resources and strategic potential of the African diaspora in Europe have not been sufficiently harnessed to promote and advance effective, responsible, transparent, accountable and democratic systems of governance in Africa. Over the past five years, the aspect that has received the most policy attention from the EU and its member states has been the size and impact of the financial remittances that the diasporas transfer to their respective homelands. However, the African diasporas also transfer non-financial values which influence the development of their homelands, values that could make a significant contribution to improving the situation on the continent.

He is of the view that the Joint Africa-EU Strategic Partnership presents an opportunity for the EU, its member states and their subsidiary development circles to align themselves with the African diaspora.

The successful execution of the programme will require a broad spectrum of resourceful actors and stakeholders in development cooperation circles and beyond, both in Africa and in Europe. There are great advantages to working with the African diaspora as potential human agents to translate the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership policy priorities into real outcomes. Diasporas can contribute to democratic governance in much the same way that they currently contribute to economic welfare and development in their home countries. They can do so by making their knowledge, professional experience and expertise available to strengthen the capacity of political institutions in Africa. For the diaspora, democratic governance is critical in creating an enabling environment in the homelands. Creating an enabling environment in the home countries is, in effect, a precondition for sustainable development in Africa, and for engaging the diasporas in the overall development of their respective home countries (Awil, 2009:3-4).

Halfdan (2010) examined the view of EU members on New Partnership for Africa’s Development, (NEPAD). According to him, from the outset, the EU welcomed NEPAD as an expression of African leaders’ commitment to building democracy and strengthening good governance. Different EU institutions, including the EU Presidency, the EU Commission, and the European Parliament, issued statements that expressed political support for NEPAD in different multilateral forums, including the G8, the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, the Africa Partnership Forum, and the UN. At a high-level plenary meeting in 2002 on how the international community could support NEPAD, Denmark, which then held the EU Presidency, stated that:

the EU is a strong supporter of NEPAD and the promise it holds for African development … The African leaders and people have raised the stakes with the adoption of NEPAD. The international community should be prepared to match this (Moeller, 2002:5).

Adebayo (2010) explored the scope and opportunities for Africa to push an international governance reform agenda that will serve its long-term interests of securing the development of the continent and increasing Africa’s voice in the international system. In so doing, he briefly reviewed the roots of the contemporary international governance order, its dysfunctionalities, and the historic case for a new international order that the countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America made between 1960 and 1980. The study also examined the tensions within the contemporary governance architecture, and the rise of new important players in the international system, symbolised by the biggest of them all, China. The growing weight of these new players is already forcing a redistribution of power in the global order that has direct implications for global governance.

Therefore, he noted that the Africa-EU dialogue is taking place within a context of global change that concerns both regions, but that neither of them solely or primarily drives. He suggested that it is within this framework that Africa must shape an agenda for global governance reform, which accommodates the collective interests of the countries making up the continent. This paper suggests that Africa’s case for reform may possess important moral dimensions that are worth pursuing, but it also needs to build on argument and strategy much more than morality.

Ake (1985) viewed leadership in Africa as one of the injurious imports of the capitalist system of production in Africa. He argued that the capitalist system of production brought into Africa a very serious antagonism between and among leaders in different states of Africa, and consequently upon which there ensued crises among them.

Anene and Brown (1981) noted that the colonialist worsen African situation by merging incompatible ethnic nations and also went on to sensitize and fuel ethnic division and differences so as to forestall any possible integration and unity of the people in the state-colonies.

Vicker (1993) observes that ethnic conflict occur as a result of colonial power’s arbitrarily drawn frontiers following the 1884/1885 colonial partition of Africa. This stems from the fact that most African states are but amalgamation of different ethnic/national groups who have differences in their historical background, cultural language, ideology and religion.

Following literature reviewed, it appears inquiries on EU and Africa’s development either looks at the unequal relationship between the duo or the historical role that EU has played in the underdevelopment of the African continent. This does not help us to understand the role of EU in Africa’s development. Also previous studies do not allow us to see the role trade and FDI have played in EU-African relations. These gaps in literature are what this study seeks to bridge. Filling of these gaps are the main objectives of this study.

1.6 Theoretical Framework

Most academic work in international relations, especially  involving Africa and Europe are usually analysed either within dependency or centre-periphery theory; or realist theory as the theoretical frameworks of analyses. These frameworks are inadequate for explaining and understanding the role of EU in Africa’s development. This is because these frameworks are descriptive and conservative without putting into consideration the changing nature of international politics.

Our analysis in this study will be predicated on the complex interdependence theory, as developed by Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye. This is because we indeed live and grow in an interdependent world. The theory recognize that the various and complex transnational connections and interdependencies between states and societies were increasing, while the use of military force and power balancing are decreasing but remain important. That cooperation between states is bringing about a decline in the use of military force and coercive power in international relations (

According to Nye and Keohane (1977) complex interdependence is based on specific characteristics that critique the implicit and explicit assumptions of traditional international politics (i.e., the superiority of the state and a hierarchy of issues with military force and power the most important leverages in international relations, which traditionally defines political realism in political science). Nye and Keohane, thus, argue that the decline of military force as a policy tool and the increase in economic and other forms of interdependenceshould increase the probability of cooperation among states. According to Lee (2000) the theory of complex interdependence came out of the changing world during the 1970’s when the realist perspective on international relations was failing to take into account many of the new aspects on interstate relations. Although the global stage setting has continued to change quite remarkably since the original inception of this theory into the study of international relations, the basic principles and assumptions of complex interdependence remain the same.

Further, these principles serve as the basis of policy between African states and most of her allies in the last decade, with increased emphases placed on economic interdependence, rather than a military strategy as focused on in the realist perspective practiced during the Cold War. The theory is not only relevant to our analysis but enhances as stated by Okolie (2006:75) our appreciation of cooperative actions among states and facilitates deep understanding of global patterns of interrelationship.