Mon. Feb 6th, 2023

The European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the European Parliament (ECR Group) is organising a high-level webinar focusing on the future of EU-Africa relations, with particular attention paid to managing the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Running over two days (21-22 April), the event, co-hosted by ECR MEPs Anna Fotyga and Assita Kanko, titled Looking forward: The EU and Africa in a post-pandemic world, will bring together the Deputy Speaker of the Western Cape government (South Africa), a representative from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, experts from the high ranked institutions and people working in the field to discuss key themes expected to underly relations between the two continents.

Topics that the event will include are; ‘pandemic responses and the health situation’, ‘the influence of global actors on Africa and EU-Africa policies’; ‘women’s rights and the impact of the pandemic’; and ‘the pandemic and its challenges to democracy, fundamental freedoms, and good governance’.

In anticipation of the event, MEP Fotyga, ECR spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, said:

“Our relations with Africa are of utmost importance for the future of both continents, as the stability and prosperity of Europe and Africa are intimately linked.

“The EU is among the first to help the African continent, while destructive policies employed by other actors lead to the detriment of African nations, creating a negative knock-on effect for the EU.

“Therefore, we cannot risk becoming reactive to Sino-African dynamics and Russian engagement in fragile states. It’s time for the EU and its Member States to provide African countries with a long-term partnership. We need a fresh and modern approach to young and dynamic African nations. We must shake off our “Big Charity” model and treat the continent like a true partner.”

MEP Kanko also commented, saying:

“The European Commission should focus on supporting local authorities and local initiatives that can help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in African countries. This help needs to be targeted to help those who need it most and are facing the most precarious situations.

“For those countries who are housing refugee populations, it is essential that in cooperation with local authorities, the EU helps provide the necessary hygienic conditions and medical support.

“In particular, the EU must support women who are put at even greater risk of domestic violence, inequality, and economic hardship due to the pandemic.

“For so many women and girls around the world and in Africa, COVID has brought greater risk, instability, and harm into their lives. It is essential that we do not lose the momentum in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation, human rights, and child marriage.”

Looking forward: The EU and Africa in a post-pandemic world will be broadcast live from the ECR Group’s social media channels on 21-22 April 2021, 16.00 – 18.00 CET.

Source: ECR Group website.

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