Today, the Africa-Europe Foundation was established by Friends of Europe and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, in partnership with ONE and the Africa Climate Foundation. The opening ceremony was attended by various personalities from both continents, including the President of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen. The Foundation is an independent forum, driving fresh policy thinking and strategic foresight across inter-connected sectors of cooperation.
High Representative/Vice-President, Josep Borrell, stressed: “Our political ambition to strengthen the partnership between Europe and Africa has been made, loud and clear. And to make this a reality, we need to go beyond narratives and we need to think outside the box. We need to work with partners from backgrounds as diverse as possible, so that innovative ideas and proposals for action can emerge. The Foundation which is being launched today will help us reaching this objective.”
Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said: “We welcome this initiative, which contributes to opening up the Africa-Europe partnership to new and diverse actors. I am glad to see it bringing together representatives of leading foundations and think-tanks as well as younger generations, women and men, Europeans and Africans, forming an influential network that will feed ideas, strategic and operational, into EU - Africa relations.”
The European Commission is working with a consortium made up of Friends of Europe, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and Ipemed to establish five Strategy Groups on Health, Digital, Agriculture and Sustainable Food Systems, Energy, and Transport and Connectivity. The Strategy Groups will bring a variety of actors and stakeholders together to discuss major challenges, globally as well as regionally, affecting both Africa and Europe. The five areas of focus feature prominently in the Joint Communication of 9 March “Towards a comprehensive strategy with Africa” making the Africa-Europe Foundation Strategy Groups well aligned with the EU's strategic approach for a strengthened partnership with Africa.
With time, the new Africa-Europe Foundation will play a convening role for the five Strategy Groups, facilitating high-level contacts and strategic dialogue, with its strong networks on both continents. It will play a key role in helping to shape ideas and find concrete pathways to strengthen the partnership between the two continents.
Four joint Africa-Europe Sectoral Task Forces were set up in 2018 as part of the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investments and Jobs and focused on four key areas: the Digital Economy; Rural Africa; Sustainable Energy; and Transport.
The five Africa-Europe Foundation Strategy Groups build on this positive experience and will continue this structured dialogue under a new structure and approach.
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