Friends of Europe is a proud co-founder of the Africa-Europe Foundation. The Africa-Europe Foundation was founded by Friends of Europe and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, in partnership with the African Climate Foundation and the ONE Campaign, and with a multitude of stakeholders from civil society, business, policymaking and the youth sector across Africa and Europe.

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Strategy Groups

Péter Balázs
Péter Balázs

Professor Emeritus of the Central European University Center for EU Enlargement Studies

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Peter Balázs is the founder of the Center of European Neighborhood Studies (CENS) and its Director for 15 years. Balázs has served as Hungary’s Ambassador to Denmark, Germany and the European Union. He was also the first Hungarian European Commissioner in 2004. He served in three different Hungarian governments as State Secretary for Industry and Trade, State Secretary for European Affairs, and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Most recently, he was appointed the European Coordinator of Transport by the European Commission.

Mervin Chetty
Mervin Chetty

General Manager for Africa at Transnet

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Mervin Chetty brings over 30 years of freight and logistics experience to the table. As General Manager for Africa at Transnet, he specialises in port logistics and financing, as well as the transport infrastructure needs for the SADC region. Chetty focuses on projects that create externalities and positive spillover effects, as well as promoting cross-border and regional integration in Africa.

Andre Didace Ciseau
Andre Didace Ciseau

Secretary-General for the Port Management Association of Eastern & Southern Africa (PMAESA)

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Alongside his role at PMAESA, Andre Didace Ciseau is also the current Executive Secretary for the Pan-African Association for Port Cooperation (PAPC). Ciseau brings with him extensive experience in the maritime and ports sector arising from his tenure as Chief Executive Officer of Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA), as well as his focus on the development of the Blue Economy for Seychelles by working with the Depart of the Blue Economy established by the Government of Seychelles in 2015. He also served in the Seychelles People’s Defence Force (SPDF) with a strategic role in the development of the Seychelles Coast Guard.

Bernard Gustin
Bernard Gustin

Co-Chair of the Africa Europe Foundation Strategy Group on Transport and Connectivity and former CEO, Brussels Airlines

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Bernard Gustin is a Belgian travel and transportation expert with a keen eye for development of the Africa-Europe partnership. As the former Chief Executive Officer of Brussels Airlines, he was responsible for the airline’s partnership with Lufthansa Group and its entrance into the global Star Alliance airline partnership. Prior to his appointment as CEO, he was a key figure in the initial launch of the SN Brussels Airlines in 2001 and worked on its successful merger with Virgin Express. Gustin has also served as Chairman of the Association of European Airlines and a board member of Medicins Sans Frontieres.

Aboubaker Omar Hadi
Aboubaker Omar Hadi

Chairman of the Djibouti Ports & Free Zones Authority

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Aboubaker Omar Hadi has been at the forefront of Djibouti’s transformation into one of the fastest-growing logistics hubs in Africa. Previously the director of operations at the port of Djibouti, he has spearheaded projects worth more than $15 billion, including the historic expansion of Djibouti’s world-class port facilities, the development of a new free trade zone, and the launch of a new passenger and cargo airline, Air Djibouti. In addition, during his 40 years careers in the maritime transport industry, he supervised port operations in Lagos and Djibouti.

Ziad Hamoui
Ziad Hamoui

Founding Member and National President for Ghana of the Borderless Alliance

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Ziad Hamoui is a founder of the Borderless Alliance, a private sector-led, multi-stakeholder advocacy group that promotes economic integration and tackles barriers to trade and transport in West Africa. Hamoui is also a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) – Ghana and an active member of its Governing Council. He recently co-founded a grassroots trade advocacy campaign in Ghana, the “Trade Facilitation Coalition for Ghana” and is a member of several advisory committees in the areas of trade policy, trade facilitation, and agribusiness.

Claire Hassoun
Claire Hassoun

Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Appload

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Claire Hassoun has more than ten years of experience working as a project director in international development and consultant in the transport infrastructure sector for the likes of the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC). Based in Mozambique’s capital Maputo, Hassoun has extensively studied the region’s transport sector and supply chains through the consultancy firm she co-founded in 2016. Her most recent assignments include a consultancy for UNFPA in rural mobility. In 2020, Hassoun launched Appload, a digital marketplace for logistics in Mozambique and southern Africa, which connects shippers to carriers in real-time.

Martin Hiles
Martin Hiles

former senior business manager at the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of logistics and Transport (CILT)

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Martin Hiles boasts nearly three decades of professional experience across the African continent – always with an awareness of the transport industry’s best practice across the globe as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT). He previously managed and reinvigorated Ghana’s only inland water transport company. More recently, he led three international marketing teams to prepare work on the Volta River Basin, hoping to transform it into a developmental inland waterway across Ghana and expand the concept across the region.

Elsie S. Kanza
Elsie S. Kanza

Special Advisor to the President of the World Economic Forum (WEF)

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Alongside her role as Special Advisor to the President of the WEF, Elsie Kanza is the Head of Africa and Member of the Executive Committee at the WEF. She has led numerous public-private collaboration initiatives to solve complex systemic challenges related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union Agenda 2063. Kanza has previously served as an economic advisor in the Private Office of the President of Tanzania. In recognition of her achievements in advancing economic development, Kanza was named the Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellow in 2008 and among Africa’s 50 Most Powerful Women by Forbes Africa in 2020.

Silvester Kututa
Silvester Kututa

Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Express Shipping & Logistics (EA) Ltd Group (ESL)

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Silvester Kututa is a leading provider of sea and air shipping logistic solutions across Eastern Africa. Aside from his current role as CEO of ESL, he serves as the Chair of both the Kenya Ships Association, and the Marine Transport and Port Logistics Industry Advisory Board for East Africa Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration Project (EASTRIP), an $8.1m World Bank Project to upskill the maritime industry. He has also sat on the Board of the Kenya Maritime Authority, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers.

Amos Marawa
Amos Marawa

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development of Zimbabwe

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With over 30 years of professional experience in regional integration and infrastructure development, Amos Marawa has in-depth experience formulating regional policies and regulations, project planning and preparation. He has extensive hands-on experience in resource mobilisation, working and dealing with a wide range of donors and financial institutions. Prior to his current role at Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, he worked at AECOM, and the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite.

Tefera Mekonnen
Tefera Mekonnen

Secretary General of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC)

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During his 30-year career, Tefera Mekonnen has served as Director-General of Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA), Vice-President of African Civil Aviation Commission and the Air Transport Regulatory Board of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa. Mekonnen also directed the national aviation security programme, the separation of operational and oversight functions of aviation security and the establishment of an autonomous airport enterprise. He took part in diverse bilateral air service negotiations, including with China, Italy, India and the USA, and with several African countries, thus allowing for more liberalised air transport services.

Dagmawit Moges Bekele
Dagmawit Moges Bekele

Ethiopian Minister for Transport

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Dagmawit Moges Bekele is an Ethiopian politician who was appointed to her current portfolio in 2018. Prior to this, she worked in various positions in the city government of Addis Ababa, and the Chairperson of Addis Ababa Mass Media Agency Board. Moges is also a Member of the House of People’s Representatives of Ethiopia (HoPRE) and a Board Chairperson of the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA), Woldiya University and Ethiopian Postal Service Enterprise. She is also a Board Member of Ethiopian Airline and the Ethiopian Petroleum Enterprise.

Paul Nugent
Paul Nugent

Professor of Comparative African History at the University of Edinburgh

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Paul Nugent is a specialist on a wide range of issues relating to international borders. Alongside his position at the University of Edinburgh, he is also Principal Investigator of the European Research Council Advanced project, “African Governance and Space: Transport Corridors, Border Towns and Port Cities in Transition” (AFRIGOS). He has worked extensively in West Africa and has researched the Northern Corridor in East Africa. Paul is the author of four monographs, including Boundaries, Communities and State-Making in West Africa (2019). He is the founder of the African Borderlands Research Network (ABORNE) and has assisted the African Union Border Programme (AUBP).

Tania Songini
Tania Songini

Non-Executive Director at InfraCo

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Tania Songini is a senior executive and non-executive director with international experience in the infrastructure sector. She worked for Siemens for 20 years, recently serving as Finance Director of Siemens Energy UK and NW Europe. Her energy experience and interests span renewable energy, storage, and e-Vehicles and hydrogen as levers to decarbonise transport. Songini is passionate about socio-economic issues in developing countries. Her Board roles include the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), as well as InfraCo Africa, a development and finance provider for innovative transport, energy, telecommunication projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Founded by

  • Friends of Europe

    The think tank for a more inclusive, sustainable and forward-thinking Europe. Friends of Europe is Brussels' most innovative think-tank, and for two decades has been showcasing new ideas on Europe's future while challenging outdated ones.

  • Mo Ibrahim Foundation

    The Mo Ibrahim Foundation (MIF) is an African foundation, established in 2006 with one focus: the critical importance of governance and leadership in Africa. It is our conviction that governance and leadership lie at the heart of any tangible and shared improvement in the quality of life of African citizens.

In partnership with

  • The ONE Campaign

    The ONE Campaign, a global movement and international not-for-profit organisation that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease.

  • The African Climate Foundation

    The African Climate Foundation is the first African-led strategic climate change grant-making foundation


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