Tuesday, September 26, 2006

African President: We want Trade, not handouts

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. President, many talk about what Europe and the world can or should do to help Africa, especially with illegal immigrants making headlines in their struggle to reach Europe. But surely Africa has something to offer Europe?

President Abdoulaye Wade: Europe would benefit greatly from turning more to Africa. The world is evolving such that the upcoming big powers will be the US, China, India, and possibly Brazil. Europe is not one of the major powers. And Africa even less so of course. But Africa has what Europe lacks: space, human resources, and natural resources while Europe has the technological innovation that Africa lacks. Together we can become a power which can count in the future. I'm not interested in being sentimental about Africa. I'm an economist and I am here because Germany has a role to play economically and financially. The discussions I had in Berlin show that we have a lot in common

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What do you need from Europe?

Wade: We are ready to accept precise forms of help. I don't want money, and I don't want hand-outs. I want trade agreements with European firms who will come to Senegal and work with African firms. Anything else is a waste of time.