9 May EU-day

9 May 1950, the European Coal and Steel Community (Schuman)

 9 May 2025

The African-European Energy-Intensive Industry Community

The opportunity for a new European 'Schuman' and a new African 'Mandela'

On 9 May, the EU celebrates the signing of the ECSC Declaration of 9 May 1950. Robert Schuman, the French foreign minister, managed to convince five European countries to pool their coal and steel, resulting in the EU and 74 years of lasting peace in Europe.

In 1990, in South Africa, Nelson "Madiba" Mandela was released after 27 years of imprisonment. He was not out for revenge but immediately negotiated with the government a black-and-white future for South Africa.

Today, global warming and the asymmetry in prosperity between Africa and Europe threaten the dreams of Schuman and Mandela.

To safeguard prosperity and well-being in Europe, popular politicians are making passionate pleas for investments in nuclear energy (climate transition and preservation of industrial Europe) and to take strict action against illegal economic migration. However, the world is one big village: CO2 emissions don't stop at the border, and with climate catastrophes and a lack of decent jobs in factories and related services in Africa, there is a chance that in twenty years' time Europe will be flooded by an order of magnitude higher number of illegal migrants from Africa than today. Fences, push-backs, flights to Kigali, shelter in North and West Africa, solidarity spread throughout Europe do not bring any solace.

  • "Energy-intensive industries may no longer be profitable. Entire regions can be redesigned, depending on the availability of renewable energy." (Europe’s top banking supervisor warns of tougher times ahead - FT 18/3/2024).
  • Africa is endowed with abundant green energy, a demographic dividend, the AfCFTA market of the future, and natural resources, but lacks the experience to transform its raw materials emission-free in energy-intensive processes into basic materials (steel, cement, aluminium, glass, ammonia, fertilizer, ...) that the world and Africa desperately need.
  • A debt-ridden Europe does master the necessary know-how and technologies and needs new markets.

Hence the call for a new visionary Schuman and a new visionary Mandela, inspired by the benefits of the ECSC, to encourage the European Union and the African Union to pool their energy-intensive industries under a single “African-European Energy Intensive Industry Community”.

GRAND INGA hydropower project DRCongo = 35 electro-nuclear reactors

In the DR Congo, the start of the GRAND INGA hydropower project, which when completed will have an electrical  capacity equal to that of 35 nuclear reactors, is stalling. GRAND INGA relies on standard-tested technologies, independent of solar and wind, with no CO2 emissions, no nuclear waste and unknown costs for nuclear decommissioning. Political Europe that, together with BusinessEurope, urgently proposes to the DR Congo a Public-Private Partnership for the realisation of GRAND INGA: a first step towards the creation of an "African-European Community for Energy-Intensive Industries"?


Jobs”, that is what Africa is concerned about  -  Europe needs Africa more than the other way around  Africa’s advanced industrialisation saves the entire planet  -  EU governments only must promote the “other” Africa. That’s all  -   A thousand Africa-Europe SME partnerships drive Africa's industrialisation

PS. This blog, inspired by Robert Schuman's declaration of 9 May 1950 for the creation of the ECSC, is the result of discussions between individual members of think tanks of EU employers' organisations but does not reflect their official position.

05/05/2024 - karel.uyttendaele{@}pandora.be - Karel Uyttendaele

74 years ago, but very topical

On May 9 1950, Robert Schuman, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, made a statement proposing the creation of a “European Coal and Steel Community”. Its members would pool their coal and steel production. Founded by France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, this ECSC was the first in a series of supranational European institutions that would eventually lead to today's “European Union”. Today, the ever-increasing asymmetry of prosperity between Europe and Africa threatens the security of both continents. The energy-intensive industry is facing a huge push towards sustainability, it needs to become CO2 neutral. Africa is blessed with sixty percent of the world's solar energy production capacity and thirty-five percent of the global green hydrogen production capacity at €2/kg.

‘'We didn't have the same past, you Europe and we Africa, but we will have the same future'

Macky Sall, African Union Chair, EU-AU summit, 17/2/2022

'If you produce aluminium in Europe at a much higher electricity cost than in other parts of the world, what is the point of supporting these companies when you can produce cheaper elsewhere in the world' (Thomas Leysen, UMICORE, 17/9/2022, De Tijd

Africa, endowed with abundant green energy and climate-strategic natural resources 




Prosperity, peace and comfort also in Africa

 Africa is blessed with sixty percent of the world's solar energy production capacity and thirty-five percent of the global green hydrogen production capacity at €2/kg.  2050 one quarter of the world's total population will live in Africa, only seven percent in Europe. The "developed" world cannot deny the African citizen the right to strive for a similar comfort to that of his Western and Chinese counterparts (with "steel, cement, aluminium, glass, fertiliser, ethylene, ...data-centers, etc.). 

Hence the importance for the entire planet to realise the energy-consuming production of basic materials, to which 25% of the world's population in Africa is also entitled, locally and emission-free. 

An industrial community for mutual benefit

Africa is blessed with abundant mineral resources and renewable energy that the world needs. Europe has a head start in the energy-intensive processing of African raw materials into basic products, which in the long term will be much more needed by Africa, which will account for 25 percent of the world's population by 2050. Europe is transferring experience in the advanced energy-intensive production of basic materials to Africa. Europe will have access to nitrogen-free produced basic materials without having to rely on expensive imported green hydrogen. Own European solar and wind energy, sporadically increased with green hydrogen from a friendly continent, is sufficient for its own residential and light industrial use. In this AU-EU industrial community, both continents win.

In Africa, in a second phase, the production of basic materials stimulates the general manufacturing industrialisation and the consequent creation of ten million decent jobs per year. In this way, a new, enormous growth market is being created in Africa. Historical-cultural links and the industrial partnership between the neighbours Europe and Africa facilitates and reinforces African interest in European products; especially in innovative, more climate-friendly and more recyclable high-tech products and services with high added value. Particularly important for Europe is that a production solidarity with Africa – with one quarter of the total world population by 2050 - will prevent anti-Western resentments, conflicts, mass asylum applications and illegal economic migration.