Spain’s prime minister unveils plan to boost economic ties with Africa

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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez unveiled Monday an ambitious plan to boost Spain’s economic and institutional ties with Africa.

“We want to turn this decade... into the decade of Spain in Africa,” he said, adding the aim is for the country to become the continent’s “strategic partner.”

He launched the “Africa Focus 2023” plan at a Madrid event attended by Ghana’s visiting President Nana Akufo-Addo, as well as Senegal’s foreign minister and the head of the African development bank by video link.

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The Spanish government gave few details about the plan, which also calls for greater cooperation to stem the flow of illegal immigration from Africa to Spain and measures to boost the role of women.

“Imagine the business and investment opportunities that will bring with them the infrastructure needed to connect our markets more effectively,” said Akufo-Addo at the event.

Unlike several other European nations, Spain had few colonies in Africa and its trade with the continent is still minimal.

Africa accounted for just 6.0 percent of Spain’s exports and 7.0 percent of its imports between January and November 2020, according to Spanish government data.

While China, the United States and France have invested heavily in Africa, the expansion of Spanish firms into the continent is still an “unresolved matter,” Sanchez said.

The Socialist premier is due to visit Senegal and oil-rich Angola from April 7-9.

Senegal is one of Spain’s main partners in Africa in the fight against illegal migration, with Madrid having deployed police to the country to help tackle criminal networks behind the flow of people.

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