Advancing EU-China-Africa trilateral partnerships: the role of joint business ventures in promoting sustainability, innovation and institutional synergies

4 February 2020

With a trilateral Africa-EU-China partnership gaining momentum, a greater understanding of this concept and its formulation in the European, African and Chinese discourse and foreign policy strategies is required. Offering an overview of the strengths, weaknesses and historical developments of the proposed Africa-EU-China trilateral cooperation, this paper critically engages with trilateral business cooperation between the three parties. Business cooperation should play a pivotal role in EU-Africa relations, functioning as the foundation upon which trilateral Africa-EU-China interactions and institutional synergies can be built, in business and beyond. First, to achieve this, greater institutional and financial backing from EU institutions for European companies active in Africa is needed. Second, the EU’s Pan-African or country-specific approach to Africa should be replaced with a greater dialogue with sub-regional bodies. Third, an active engagement with China is to be sought in creating these new platforms. The paper identifies renewable energies and ICT as potential sectors for greater cooperation between the EU, China and a number of African regional bodies.