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Infrastructure: The EU's Global Gateway Put to the Test

RESEARCH Working Paper by Alessandro Gili
African construction site

Through infrastructure investments, economic integration, and green and digital transitions, the EU's Global Gateway will shape Africa and its cities as new hubs for development.

Launched in December 2021, the European Union's Global Gateway is part of a broader initiative to ensure strategic autonomy for the EU in its economic and political relations with the rest of the world, including the industrial, defense, air and space, raw materials procurement, and infrastructure sectors. In recognizing the geopolitical risks arising from projects spearheaded by other powers—such as China's Belt and Road Initiative—Brussels aims to become a "global setting power," aiming to make its technical, regulatory, environmental, and social standards in the infrastructure sector the international point of reference. 

Nowhere is this geopolitical competition more critical than in Africa, where much of the world's economic and population growth is expected to occur over the 21st century. Global Gateway's primary goal on the continent is to integrate European and African multi-modal transport networks, especially through the creation of strategic corridors and the harmonization of regulatory frameworks and standards for the construction and functioning of infrastructure. Additionally, a new efficient transportation system will empower African global cities, facilitating mobility within the continent and between Africa and Europe.

The financing of infrastructure abroad will facilitate the diffusion of European standards and values worldwide. The Global Gateway, alongside the European Chips Act, the Net Zero Industry Act and the Critical Raw Materials Act, is one of the main pillars to keep Europe competitive on the global stage and to tackle and respond to the industrial, technological, and infrastructure strategies of other leading economies.

About the Author
Associate Research Fellow, ISPI Centre on Business Scenarios
Alessandro Gili
Alessandro Gili is Research Fellow at the ISPI Centre on Geoeconomics and at the Centre on Infrastructure, with the knowledge partnership of McKinsey & Company. He was also a member of the T20 Task Force on Infrastructure Investment and Financing during the G20 Italian Presidency.
Alessandro Gili