“Joining Perspectives – Cooperation with Africa in Times of Change” – Federal Minister Svenja Schulze presents Africa Strategy
24 January saw Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), headed by Federal Minister Svenja Schulze, present its new Africa Strategy. It focuses on respectful cooperation with African countries and the sustainable development of the African continent. The AGYO will contribute to this aim in the area of “Promoting civil society engagement and youth”.
How the partnership between Europe and Africa evolves depends on how well the two continents’ interests and values are catered for. That in turn requires us to listen to what we hear from Africa and challenge our way of thinking. This led the BMZ to initiate an extensive consultation process with regard to the Africa Strategy. The strategy that has now been published takes more of a social, environmental and feminist approach than in the past. The intention is to solve crises jointly with Europe’s neighbouring continent in a spirit of solidarity to enable everyone to live in dignity and security in an intact environment.
The African-German Youth Office (AGYO) is set to play a role in the implementation of the strategy, too. Its youth exchange projects serves as a way of developing the necessary capabilities to promote the young generation, civil society engagement and dialogue based on respect.
To mark the strategy’s publication, the BMZ held an event on 25 January 2023 to discuss “Joining Perspectives - Cooperation with Africa in Times of Change”. One of the questions the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Svenja Schulze, and the other panel participants considered was how global megatrends and multiple crises affect African-European cooperation.
The panel members, Federal Minister Svenja Schulze, Koen Doens (Director-General for International Partnerships, EU Commission), Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa (Vice-Chairperson of the AU Commission), Mavis Owusu-Gyamfi (Executive Vice President, African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET)) and Ahunna Eziakonwa (Regional Director for Africa, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)), all agreed that the African continent was an indispensable partner for Europe on numerous levels.
Federal Minister Schulze stressed that “networks and true partnerships” were needed in a multipolar world. It was important to realise that societies were changing both in Europe - an ageing continent - and in Africa - a young and growing continent. Linking up African and European interests would make it possible to shape a positive future for all, she added.
„It is not a relationship of a giver and a receiver, it is a relationship where everybody can contribute something.”
For a good partnership to succeed, it was crucial to recognise differences and be willing to find compromises on the road to a shared future, according to Mavis Owusu-Gyamfi (Executive Vice President, ACET). She added, “Europa will be better with Africa and Africa will be better with Europe.”
We from the AGYO can only second that and we are delighted to bring young communities together through our funding of African-German youth exchanges, enabling them to engage in a respectful dialogue to share ideas and explore what they have in common and how they are different.