Sierra Leone Telegraph: 8 December 2020:
Yesterday, Monday 7 December, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation announced the launch of the Africa Europe Foundation. This open platform will facilitate strategic dialogue between diverse stakeholders from both neighbouring continents, catalyse partnerships and unlock new opportunities that can reset and bolster Africa-Europe relations.
According to the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, youth – the “now generation” – will play a key role in this new initiative.
The Africa Europe Foundation is founded by Friends of Europe (a leading European think-tank) and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation (a leading African Foundation), in partnership with the African Climate Foundation (the first Africa-led strategic climate change grant-making foundation) and the ONE Campaign (a global movement and international not-for-profit organisation that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease).
The Foundation is an independent forum, creating space for honest, frank and interactive debate for better mutual understanding. Diverse stakeholders – institutions, governments, business, financing sector, civil society, experts, will gather around the same table to tackle shared challenges.
It will drive fresh thinking around policy and unlock opportunities by acting as a partnership incubator for catalytic initiatives, joint projects and innovative processes in priority sectors of the Africa-Europe partnership.
Leading personalities from across Africa and Europe came together on 2nd December 2020 to support the launch of this new Foundation.
Speaking at the announcement of the Africa Europe Foundation, Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, Chair of the EAC (Eastern Africa Community), and Chair of the AUDA (AU Development Agency) AU/NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HOSGOC), said: “The Africa Europe partnership needs to be adapted to the times we live in today”.
He added that, “Next year the Africa-EU Summit must convey this readiness for change and progress, and I look forward to the new Africa Europe Foundation preparing the ground”.
Charles Michel, President of the European Council, said: “The new EU-Africa partnership can play a leading role in putting people-to-people cooperation at the heart of the multilateral world”. He stated that he shared the ambition of the Africa Europe Foundation and that: “the Foundation is well-positioned to inspire and bring together diverse stakeholders, and to transform dialogue into action”. He added: “together we have the tools, the energy and the creativity to build a common future”.
The Africa Europe Foundation also received the firm support of personalities from across the two neighbouring continents present at the launch yesterday. This included Mo Ibrahim – Founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation; Etienne Davignon, President of Friends of Europe; Amani Abou-Zeid, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy; Ayodeji Adewunmi Co-Founder & Director, Emprego Holdings; Zeinab Badawi – Chair of the Royal Africa Society and Member of the Advisory Board of Afrobarometer; Hailemariam Dessalegn Boshe former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and former President of the African Union; Joaquim Alberto Chissano former President of the Republic of Mozambique and former President of the African Union; Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Dangote Group.
Support also comes from Arancha González Minister of Foreign Affairs, EU and Cooperation of Spain; Donald Kaberuka High Representative for the Peace Fund of the African Union Commission and former President of the African Development Bank; Pascal Lamy Honorary President of Notre Europe-Jacques Delors Institute and former Director-General of the World Trade Organization; Festus Mogae former President of Botswana; Carlos Moedas, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Gulbenkian Foundation; former European Commissioner and former European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Federica Mogherini, Rector of the College of Europe and former High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security; Louise Mushikiwabo, Secretary General of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie; Gayle Smith President and CEO of the ONE Campaign; Amina J. Mohammed Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group; Vera Songwe Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of Liberia and Nobel Peace Prize winner; Mary Robinson, Chair of the Elders and former President of Ireland; Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships.
The “High-Level Group of Personalities on Africa-Europe relations”, co-created in 2017 by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Friends of Europe and ONE, will assume the role of steering group for the Africa Europe Foundation. This includes orientating the work of five new Strategy Groups launched this week on Health, Digital, Agriculture, Energy, Transport and Connectivity, and composed of proven leaders from civil society, the youth sector, business and policymaking.
The five Strategy Groups have been put together with research partners, including IPEMED (Mediterranean World Economic Foresight Institute), the Policy Center for the New South (PCNS), the Next Einstein Forum, and the FERDI (Fondation pour les Études et Recherches sur le Développement International).
At the launch meeting yesterday, the High-Level Group (HLG) also endorsed the first flagship report of the Africa Europe Foundation for the Heads of State and Government.
The HLG Report will be officially launched on 9 December and shows how an innovative “Africa Europe Climate Alliance” based on mutual learning, shared interest and mutual benefits can be a key pillar for resetting the Africa-EU partnership.