- By Jamie Shea
The Charter of the Africa-Europe Foundation (AEF), launched today on the occasion of its first anniversary event, outlines how Africa and Europe can work together to achieve tangible progress and pave the way for a more equal, prosperous and sustainable shared future.
Ahead of the next AU-EU Summit taking place on 17-18 February 2022 in Brussels, the AEF has released its Charter presenting its priorities to foster economic inclusion, bring youth to the centre of conversations and address the climate-health nexus.
By the middle of this century, Africa and Europe will represent a third of the world’s population. Yet the past months have highlighted the economic and power imbalances between Africa and Europe. The forthcoming AU-EU Summit represents a significant milestone to revitalise the partnership.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Honorary Co-president of the Africa-Europe Foundation and Nobel Laureate commented that: “Our Charter builds on the Africa-Europe Foundation’s core belief that both continents have much to offer each other. Neither will solve their respective problems in isolation, rather it is through cooperation that we will be able together to reinvigorate our partnership.”
If the situation continues, both continents will face major economic and social disruption in the coming decades and young people will suffer the most.
Mo Ibrahim, Co-Founder of the Africa-Europe Foundation and Chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation added: “Putting young citizens in the driving seat of dialogue and debate is the way forward and critical to finding solutions to Africa, Europe and the world’s most pressing challenges. This is why youth participation in decision-making is a central component of our Charter.”
The Africa-Europe Foundation Charter outlines areas of actions including:
- Build the capacity to manufacture vaccines and other medicines within Africa. We must ensure that 70% of the population in each country is fully vaccinated by September 2022 by providing the necessary economic support.
- Invest in mitigating global warming to 1.5 degrees and knowledge sharing to adapt to the changing climate. An immediate first step should be investing in clean cooking solutions, both as a public health measure and an environmental one.
- Address the future of work and ensure the economic inclusion of young people. Africa and Europe have distinct strengths from the type of resources, innovations, to regulatory and infrastructure experience that can be leveraged to mutual benefit.
- Shift European perceptions of Africa and African perceptions of Europe. People across both continents need to understand the potential of the partnerships. The support of a wide range of stakeholders is needed from the media, NGOs, CGOs, corporations, artists, and other personalities.
We must work together on specific initiatives to solve our shared problems and make sure to evaluate progress, implementation and impact during that journey.
Mary Robinson, Honorary Co-President of the Africa-Europe Foundation and Chair of the Elders, emphasised: “Whether it’s for health, the climate crisis or other issues, the moment is now and we urgently need bold ideas and action to reshape Africa and Europe’s common future together.”
The Africa-Europe Foundation Charter is an initiative launched at the AEF’s first anniversary on 2 December following a year of capturing shared learning and the joint priorities between both continents. It brings together the voices of young people from across Africa and Europe, members, leaders and partners of the Foundation and its Strategy Groups across Health, Digital, Transport and Connectivity, Sustainable Energy, Agriculture and Food Systems.
The full list of recommended priorities of the Africa-Europe Foundation is available here.
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