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EU-Africa Summit: Renewed partnership for mutual benefit

After two days of intensive talks, the EU-Africa summit ended with hope. Politicians spoke of a renewed partnership, and major investments were announced. However, it remains to be seen what concrete impact this summit will have on the people of Europe and Africa.

Mutual respect and equality

A shared vision for 2030 based on mutual respect and equality. That was the aim of the 70 diplomatic delegations in Brussels. From the point of view of the African Union, a fundamental change is needed in the relationship between Africa and Europe.

"A new spirit needs to be breathed into Europe-Africa relations, one based on true partnership and not just a facilitator relationship," said Macky Sall, Senegalese President and Chair of the African Union.

A vision shared by the European Union and underpinned by massive investment plans: "The first regional plan as part of our major investment strategy 'Global Gateway' is the Africa-Europe plan with more than 150 billion euros in investments," announced the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

It is still unclear how this money will be mobilized. The aim is to finance the green transition, create jobs and support education.

The digital sector should also benefit from this. Only 25% of the African population has internet. Many African governments, including Congo, are tackling the problem:

"We have a problem with digital activities on the continent. They absolutely have to be regulated," said Désiré Cashmir Eberande Kolongele, Minister for Digital Economy in Congo. "We need clear rules that define the access conditions. Secondly, we have a problem with the content. The applications that are developed using digital technology must meet people's needs."

Digital future in Congo

For the digital future, Congo plans to introduce an international tax for tech giants and fair trade practices with their partners. Samira Rafaela, Member of the European Parliament from the Netherlands:

"There is a lot of human capital, young people, women entrepreneurs, women are driving the African economy in the areas of innovation and technology. The EU should be the trading partner of the continent."

Agreement for the development of digital infrastructures

In Brussels, the Congolese finance minister signed an agreement with a consulting firm and the French development agency. As part of this cooperation, 600,000 euros will be made available for the development of a national plan for the development of digital infrastructures.

Rémy Rioux, Director General of the French Development Agency (AFD): "It is a matter of establishing a policy, of defining a framework in which public investments, such as those of the French Development Agency, or other actors, especially private investors, can develop well. "

For the Congolese government, the digital transformation plays a role above all in the modernization of the economy, especially in agriculture. Congo's Finance Minister Nicolas Kazadi: "The government's goal is to ensure that agribusiness regains its place. To do this, we need small and large farmers who use modern means and methods to increase their productivity."

Fighting climate change together

Building sustainable agricultural and food systems is important in many parts of Africa. Another pressing issue closely linked to agriculture is climate change. Congo wants to play a leading role in fighting it.

Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde, Congo's Prime Minister: "We have a natural potential that responds precisely to these threats and the containment of global warming by 1.5 degrees."

Europe and Africa are united in the fight against global warming. There are still problems when it comes to Covid-19: only 11% of the African population is fully vaccinated against the virus. African politicians accuse Europeans of hoarding vaccine doses. But the main bone of contention is the EU's refusal to reverse vaccine ownership.

The heads of state and government of both continents said they would continue to work on a vaccine solution in the coming months. Despite these differences, delegations left the Summit satisfied and determined to build a better partnership. A partnership that is becoming increasingly important to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.

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