EU-Africa relations during the COVID-19 pandemic – a partnership that must be preserved

May 4, 2020
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The partnership with Africa was clearly highlighted by the EU institutions as one of the main priorities for the coming years, but the COVID-19 pandemic might threaten closer cooperation. This was the topic of a webinar organised on 29 April by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), where participants agreed that consolidation of supply chains and an agreement to ease the external debt burden of African countries were key issues.

Luca Jahier, President of the EESC, pointed to the fact that, in March, the European Commission had released its new strategy for Africa, which aimed to transform the EU-Africa region into the new centre of world development. We are in a different era now, but now, more than ever, we should focus on Africa as a key priority; what we do now will have an impact in the future, said Mr Jahier.

Vera Songwe, Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, agreed that there was a need to enhance the connection between African and European economies, the EU being the main investor and trade partner for Africa. Ms Songwe also stressed the need to work on two key issues: consolidation of supply chains and the external debt.

Dilyana Slavova, President of the Section for External Relations of the EESC, pointed to the important role which civil society can play to tackle this issue: “Civil society organisations have a crucial contribution to make in ensuring interconnectivity between countries in Africa and reaching the target audience; they have shown their potential in fighting not only the COVID-19 outbreak, but also hunger.”


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Press Release

European Economic and Social Committee

Countries covered:

  • Algeria
  • Egypt
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia