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Spain reinvents its policy towards Africa to influence the causes of migration

The geographical proximity of Spain with regard to Africa is not tantamount to a privileged relationship. The presence of Spanish companies is shy (there are about 600 implanted), the institutional dialogue is not always fluid and the large presence of Spanish military on the continent (more than 700) non-capitalized as a tool of influence. Aware of these shortcomings, the Foreign Ministry has already nearly finished a project that intends to present this week in Congress, according to explain to THE COUNTRY sources of this department.

The Executive of Pedro Sanchez considered to be short-sighted to assess the relationship with Africa in function of how many migrants arrive to the Spanish coasts. To generate a more productive relationship with the continent requires analyzing other variables, not just try to stop at the border to those seeking to enter irregularly.

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With that goal, the ministry directs that Josep Borrell has launched an initiative structured in four blocks: peace and security, economic growth and sustainable development, institutional strengthening, and mobility ordered. The fact that migration —not even used this word— appears as the last block of this statement is indicative of the shift that is intended to give to the relationship with Africa.

More Spanish investment

The logical –not feasible, but symptomatic of the efforts you want to put in all of the previous steps— is that, if the continent improves in democracy and economic boom, the migration will be lower. But it is also, for the greater part of the africans who emigrate, Europe is not their main target. “You have to broaden the focus because migration is a phenomenon shared. Of every five africans who emigrate, four doing inside their own continent. To Europe, is less than 20%,” argues a senior Foreign service.

this Is the first comprehensive plan to the continent since the second mandate of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, with more ambitious goals than that. On that occasion, the plan had a temporary limitation (2009-2013). Before, it had already been two attempts to have a few lines of clear action towards Africa (in 2000 and in 2006), although very focused on the containment of migration.

The plan lacks a budget specifically because it goes beyond the official aid to african countries. In front of that game, Outdoor is intended to give more weight to the Spanish investment, so that companies perceive to a greater extent on the opportunities present in Africa. Because despite the images of wars, desertification and dictatorships that transcend the continent as a whole today is less poor and more stable than for years. The Spanish Administration has enhanced up to now little this vision and just 0.3% of the gross investment abroad was directed last year to the african continent, according to data from the Ministry of Economy. Half are concentrated in south Africa. European partners like France and Italy have more weight in the region.

The low profile of Spain deviates from a strategy of investment to Africa, which is imposed on the outside. The EU has devised a tool investment for this continent, which aims to mobilize 44.000 million euros, essentially private, in the coming years. And the chinese investments are rampant in the continent. It is, nevertheless, that this venture garment in Europe.

even Though the Government of Sanchez has been accelerated and reoriented something the plan in its last phase, the previous Foreign minister, Alfonso Dastis, already launched in 2017, the development of a strategy for Africa. Borrell will wait to present it to Congress and the Senate to close the final version, in order to introduce some improvements to the initiative of the Parliament.

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