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.
The Africa Europe Foundation is a consortium entity founded by a leading European think-tank, Friends of Europe, and a leading African Foundation, 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.
Africa Europe Foundation Strategy Groups – Our sectoral focus
The Africa Europe Foundation Strategy Groups are mandated to build a commonality of purpose from the complexity of sometimes diverging perspectives and approaches across priority domains of partnership; enlarge the Africa-Europe partnership to new and diverse actors; unlock dormant opportunities; leverage joint partnership action; open up space for fresh policy thinking, strategic foresight and a holistic rethink of critical sectors for multilateral cooperation; and reinforce Africa-EU on the international stage.
The Strategy Groups will focus on priority sectors that are central to Africa-Europe cooperation and critical in both the COVID context and in the face of the ongoing climate emergency. We recognise the interconnections across priority sectors and will work to break down silos and promote cross-sector initiatives.
The Strategy Groups will focus on the following priority sectors:
- Agriculture & Sustainable Food Systems
- Energy & Green Transformation
- Transport & Connectivity
The Strategy Groups are supported by the High-Level Group of Personalities who provides political and strategic orientations for the Africa Europe Foundation.
Our cross-cutting themes
In promoting a whole-of-society approach we highlight the importance of embedding cross-cutting themes which are pivotal to taking the Africa-Europe partnership to the next level of impact:
Climate Change; Youth; Gender; Education; Mobility; Involvement of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMES); and Governance.
The research partners affiliated to the Africa Europe Foundation Strategy Groups include IPEMED (Mediterranean World Economic Foresight Institute), the Policy Center for the New South (PCNS), the Next Einstein Forum and FERDI (Fondation pour les Études et Recherches sur le Développement International).
The preparation of the Africa Europe Foundation has been supported by the European Commission and in association with the African Union Commission through the “Debating Africa-EU” series.
The announcement of the Africa Europe Foundation is a call to involve diverse organisations, youth and civil society networks, think-tanks, foundations and institutions working on the Africa-Europe partnership.
Paul Walton — Director
Julie Bolle — Project Operations Director
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.
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 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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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 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 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.
Annette Ssemuwemba is an international development professional with over 20 years of experience in developing and executing corporate strategic initiatives aimed at improving trade competitiveness. In her current role, she implements sustainable solutions to address institutional and productive capacity constraints in 47 least-developed countries. Prior to that, as Chief Strategy and Results Officer for the multi-million Aid for Trade initiative, she worked across Eastern Africa, designing and implementing strategic interventions to address trade, transport and logistics challenges and increase trade competitiveness.
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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.
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