The 14th edition of the Europe-Africa Meeting, organized by Aspen Institute France from November 25 to 28 in Annecy, confirmed the strong bonds between the two continents, while taking note of the rise of new partners in Africa.
By editorial staff
A popular event for African and European decision-makers, the 14th edition of the Europe-Africa meeting was held from November 25 to 28 at Fondation Mérieux’s Centre des Pensières in Annecy (France). It was chaired by Pascal Lamy, former Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The biennial summit has been organized since 1994 by the Aspen Institute France, an international think tank. It brings together high-level leaders and experts (entrepreneurs, financiers, analysts and ministers from Europe and Africa) to discuss issues related to development and the relationship between Africa and Europe. This year, the meeting had as official partner the World Bank and focused on the theme “Agenda 2063: in search of an African business model”. It is a direct reference to the African Union’s Agenda 2063, which is the blueprint adopted by the pan-African institution to achieve the continent’s key inclusive and sustainable development goals by 2063.
“A direct, benevolent and constructive dialogue”
In detail, a series of six topical sessions around fifty participants were organized during this 2021 edition. They have, as is customary with the Europe-Africa meetings of the Aspen Institute, followed the rule known as Chatham. The latter imposes anonymity of speakers, while promoting “a direct, benevolent and constructive dialogue,” according to its promoters. Among the invited participants were Franck Riester, Minister Delegate in charge of Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness; Serge Ekué, President of the West African Development Bank (BOAD); Jean-Claude Brou, President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission; Lionel Zinsou, former Prime Minister of Benin and managing partner of the investment company Southbridge, or Giulio Tremonti, former Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Rama Yade, former French Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights and current Africa Director of the American think tank Atlantic Council.
A prestigious assembly who, during the course of lively discussions, realized the changes that have occurred in the Europe-Africa relationship since the previous edition of the Europe-Africa meeting (22-23 November 2019). Since then, it will have escaped no informed observer that Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, as well as Charles Michel, President of the European Council, chose Africa for their first trip outside Europe, by heading to Addis Ababa, headquarters of the African Union in December 2019 and February 2020, respectively. A strong signal.
“Other partners such as China, Russia and the United States, not to mention India and Turkey, are also contributing to the acceleration of the implementation of Agenda 2063 aimed at creating a transformed and prosperous Africa“
The reason for this renewed interest in the continent is, in fact, not only political: the European Union is the leading partner of the African continent in terms of trade, investment, but also official development assistance, humanitarian aid and security. Today, however, “other partners such as China, Russia and the United States, not to mention India and Turkey, are also contributing to the acceleration of the implementation of Agenda 2063 aimed at creating a transformed and prosperous Africa,” said the organizers of the Europe-Africa meeting. This is a way of reminding that it is more necessary than ever to strengthen the “mutually beneficial” Europe-Africa partnership.
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