- The Advocacy Seminar on EU-Africa Relations aimed to foster constructive dialogue and a shared vision between Europe and Africa.
- Its goal was to identify common interests and missions for both regions and promote a prosperous, digital, and sustainable future.
- The event featured the presence of the Ambassador of the Republic of Malawi in Berlin, as well as prominent figures from the political, business, and journalistic spheres of Germany and several African countries.
Brussels, July 7, 2023. United Europe held an in-person and online seminar on EU-Africa Relations in Berlin on Monday, July 3, titled “An African Perspective on EU-Africa Relations: a Shared Vision for Both Continents.” The seminar aimed to generate constructive dialogue in identifying common interests and missions between Europe and Africa, and to influence policymakers in promoting a shared vision for Europe, where both regions work together for mutual benefit and towards a prosperous, digital, and sustainable future. Ester Mbomio, from Finnova’s Communication department, attended the event on behalf of the Foundation.
During the day hosted at the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT Berlin) in the German capital, the causes affecting the effectiveness of Europe’s foreign policy towards Africa were identified, emphasizing the importance of examining local perspectives to achieve a more accurate and nuanced understanding of the African continent. Furthermore, the need to go beyond topics such as natural resource exploitation, security, and migration was highlighted, calling for a broader and holistic approach that unifies objectives and addresses the layered needs and response mechanisms for both regions.
A gathering that united representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the business community of Germany with diplomats, journalists, and associations
Journalist Mercy Abang served as the moderator throughout the day. Dyria Alloussi, Director of Programs at United Europe, opened the session at this gathering aimed at fostering stronger cooperation between the European Union and the African Union and generating discussions on solutions and areas of shared interests.
Sabine Odhiamboare, Secretary General of Deutsche Afrika Stiftung – German Africa Foundation (DAS), an organization that serves as a platform for exchange between Africa and Germany, particularly at the parliamentary level and in line with the guidelines of the German federal government, kicked off the seminar by highlighting the importance for European countries to gain a better understanding of the advancements and key idiosyncrasies of the African continent in order to achieve fruitful and sustainable collaborations that facilitate business and knowledge exchange.
Fatu Ogwuche, CEO of Big Tech This Week, a global digital media outlet that covers the latest developments in the technology industry internationally, shared her experience as a founder, analyzed the differences in business requirements between Africa and Europe, and discussed the need to simplify processes to promote youth entrepreneurship in the technology ecosystem, particularly in terms of taxation.
Muhammad Sani Abdullahi, former Commissioner of Budget and Planning in the Nigerian state of Kaduna, former Policy Advisor in the Executive Office of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and member of the Secretary-General’s core team that designed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), highlighted Europe’s role as a key strategic partner for Africa in terms of training, particularly in the healthcare and education sectors; the prevalent informal economy model in Africa, accounting for up to 60% of its activities; and Africa’s role as a key strategic partner for Germany in terms of energy production and distribution. He also discussed existing agreements between Africa and Asia, which are emerging as examples of effective cooperation in strategic training and bilateral hiring.
Ferdinard Pavel, Manager at DIW ECON GmbH consultancy, and Emmanuel Uwandu, an entrepreneur in the gas sector, led a round of interviews highlighting investment and cooperation opportunities in both regions and the importance of focusing the dialogue on building real solutions that seize opportunities promptly.
Cheta Nwanze, partner at SBM Intelligence, explained specific value aspects related to the wealth and cultural diversity in Africa, and provided up-to-date data on sectors experiencing significant economic growth and, therefore, offering greater business opportunities.
Panel discussion on Europe’s interests in Africa
As a closing of the event, a dialogue panel titled “Is Europe’s presence in Africa driven by its values or interests?” was held, with the main objective of discussing advancements in visa issuance agility and addressing the importance of assuming mutual responsibilities, adjusting regulations, and working together to achieve global objectives and meet common needs.
The panel featured representatives from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African and Afro-European journalists, and representatives from the German business community. Notably, the event was attended by His Excellency Mr. Joseph John Mpinganjira, Ambassador of the Republic of Malawi in Berlin; Hildegard Bentele, Member of the European Parliament; Sarah Bernardy, Head of Division at the German Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Stefan Liebing, former director of the Afrika Verein association and current CEO of the Conjuncta consultancy; Tomi Olidapo, news anchor and reporter from the German media DW News, and Hannah Ajala, journalist from the BBC and director of the podcast “We Are Black Journos.”
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About United Europe
United Europe is an independent, non-profit pro-European organization aimed at fostering a united and inclusive Europe, committed to promoting and safeguarding fundamental values of democracy, respect for human rights, diversity, and solidarity. It was founded in 2013 by prominent European entrepreneurs, politicians, and analysts. The founders include former Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel and German businessman Jürgen Großmann.
Its main objective is to build and strengthen a Europe capable of ensuring peace, freedom, and prosperity for future generations. To achieve this, they work closely with various stakeholders, promoting cooperation and dialogue on the key challenges facing Europe. They organize conferences, seminars, and debates that bring together experts and European leaders to exchange ideas and seek solutions to current and future issues. They also actively engage young professionals and future leaders in the European debate through training programs, specific activities, and networking opportunities.
About Finnova Foundation
Finnova is a non-profit Hispano-Belgian foundation headquartered in Brussels and Spain, working for the promotion and development of innovation and entrepreneurship in the European Union for the past 12 years. They help and training in accessing European funds. Their aim is to address social challenges such as employment, entrepreneurship, UN Sustainable Development Goals, circular economy, waste valorization, sustainable tourism, and combating climate change.
Finnova’s expertise in leading communication and dissemination activities for European projects is combined with a strong track record in entrepreneurship support and business creation programs, including accelerators, incubators, and events. They are also committed to youth training and employability.