Africa is increasingly attracting attention for its economic buoyance and success in reducing poverty and is now viewed as an opportunity rather than a challenge, panellists told a Friends of Europe’s Development Policy Forum Africa Summit on 24 June.

The continent’s economies grew at an average of 5.2% a year between 2003 and 2011, and eight of the 10 fastest-growing economies in 2012 were African. This is slowly but surely translating in to a new Europe-Africa relationship based on eqaulity. EU aid is still important for Africa but funds are also pouring into the continent from foreign investors, remittances as well as better domestic tax collection. Europe needs to change its traditional relationship with Africa based on aid, while contributing in new ways and still helping efforts to maintain peace and security where needed.

“Today is the time to finally unleash Africa’s huge and unrivalled potential,” said Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Development. “In recent years I have noticed strong willingness among African leaders and citizens alike to change the perception of Africa. They want Africa to become a continent of opportunity and success rather than a land of starving children and poverty.”

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