Europe and Africa are engaged in a much-needed attempt to reset relations. A decade after the launch of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy, the partnership clearly needs to adapt to new global, regional and national realities. The success of the endeavor will depend not only on interaction between African and European governments but also on the engagement and contribution of independent, high-level African and European personalities with a joint commitment to improving Africa-Europe relations. Given the current global landscape and new realities in Africa and Europe, the time is right to step up interaction and cooperation at all levels. This can only be achieved through multi-stakeholder dialogue and engagement.
Following an exploratory meeting held in November 2017 in Brussels and an exchange with 5 European Commissioners and the President of the European Parliament, Friends of Europe and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation have decided to create a high-level group of personalities to give new impetus to EU-Africa relations. Drawing upon each other’s expertise and longstanding networks of high-level stakeholders from both continents, we have assembled an independent and balanced group of respectable top-level leaders, to informally exchange views in order to accompany and advise on the deepening partnership process.
The high-level group of personalities from Africa and Europe will work together to identify the priorities and next steps that both continents must take to enhance the strategic approach needed in core policy areas including trade, entrepreneurship, jobs, migration flows, digital development, energy, security, climate change, etc. Members of the group will bring their in-depth and pragmatic expertise and knowledge, to help identify both quick wins and long-term progress for the prosperity and well-being of our citizens.
The group of personalities will meet twice a year on an ad-hoc basis with African and European leaders who are designing the future relationship, alternating between a meeting on the African continent, in the margins of the Mo Ibrahim governance weekend in April, and one meeting in Brussels taking place in October. This group may also invite external observers to take part to the meetings.
Networking & registration
Young people are Africa’s greatest and fastest growing asset and should be playing a leading role in driving forward the continent’s sustainable growth and development agenda. Yet, while the numbers are impressive and Africa’s demographic potential is enormous - Africa’s youth population is expected to double to over 830 million by 2050 - finding jobs for these young people so that they can become productive economic agents and responsible members of society remains a challenge across the continent.
Young people account for 60% of all of Africa’s jobless and even when jobs are available, and despite strides in education over the past decades, youth often do not have the training and skills required by employers. Women are particularly impacted, often facing even greater barriers to accessing opportunities and earning equal pay. This alone represents a loss for African economies estimated at around EUR 16 billion a year.
The EU and European governments have promised to focus on concrete actions to meet the specific needs of young people, such as increasing quality employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, enhancing their skills and access to digital technologies and services, and strengthening their rights and empowerment. But are these policies being implemented and are African governments and the private sector taking on their responsibilities? Further questions to help guide the conversation may include:
- How can Africa and Europe better work together and learn from each other, to help create a conducive environment for youth entrepreneurship?
- What will the jobs of the future look like and how can Africa and Europe better invest in them?
- How to bridge the gender gap that is hindering Africa’s full economic boom?
Participants at this meeting include:
Ayodeji Adewunmi, Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, Jobberman.com, Nigeria; and Member of the EU-Africa High-level Group of Personalities
Andrus Ansip, Vice-President and Commissioner for Digital Single Market, European Commission
Tom Arnold, Chair, Task Force for rural Africa, Cabinet of EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan
Gunilla Carlsson, Deputy Executive Director, UNAIDS; Member of the Coalition Party, Sweden; Former Swedish Minister for International Cooperation and Development; and Member of the EU-Africa High-level Group of Personalities
Etienne Davignon, President, Friends of Europe; Minister of State, Belgium; Former Vice-President, The European Commission; and Member of the EU-Africa High-level Group of Personalities
Hailemariam Dessalegn, Former Prime Minister, Ethiopia; Former President, The African Union; and Member of the EU-Africa High-level Group of Personalities
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, European Commission
Tsega Gebreyes, Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer, Satya Capital, United Kingdom
Tanja Gönner, Chair of the Management Board, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); Former Minister for Social Affairs, State of Baden Württemberg, Germany; and Member of the EU-Africa High-level Group of Personalities
Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director, International Trade Centre (ITC); and Member of the EU-Africa High-level Group of Personalities
Mo Ibrahim, Chairman and Founder, Mo Ibrahim Foundation; and Member of the EU-Africa High-level Group of Personalities
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of the Republic, Liberia; and Member of the EU-Africa High-level Group of Personalities
Donald Kaberuka, High Representative for the Peace Fund, African Union Commission; former President, The African Development Bank, Ethiopia; and Member of the EU-Africa High-level Group of Personalities
Horst Köhler, Personal Envoy for the Western Sahara, The United Nations; Former President, Germany; and Member of the EU-Africa High-level Group of Personalities
Pascal Lamy, Trustee, Friends of Europe; Former Commissioner for Trade, The European Commission; former Director-General, The World Trade Organisation (WTO); and Member of the EU-Africa High-level Group of Personalities
Rima Le Coguic, Director, Africa, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), France
Stefano Manservisi, Director-General, European Commission Directorate- General for International Cooperation and Development
Neven Mimica, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, European Commission
Festus Mogae, Former President, Botswana; and Member of the EU-Africa High-level Group of Personalities
Catherine Ray, Member and Lead Spokesperson, Cabinet of High Representative for Foreign Policy & Security Federica Mogherini
Lapo Pistelli, Executive Vice-President for International Affairs, Eni; former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Italy; former Member of the European Parliament
Gayle Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer, The ONE Campaign
Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, European Commission
Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, European Commission
Wouter Vermeulen, Senior Director, The Coca-Cola Company
Koen Vervaeke, Managing-Director, Africa, European External Action Service
Shada Islam, Director of Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe
This meeting is exclusively for members of the EU-Africa high level group and invited guests.
No additional registration will be accepted. A report will be available shortly.