Wednesday, 06 February, 2013
The international conference on “Building the Africa-Europe Partnership: What Next?” was held on 13-14 December 2012 in Lisbon, Portugal. As part and parcel of the preparatory work for the 2014 Africa-EU Summit and the development of the Post-2015 Global Agenda, the conference debated some of the key issues that impact on the future of the Africa-Europe partnership and international development.
The event was organised by the Institute for International and Strategic Studies, the NGO Marquês de Valle Flôr, the Centre of African Studies of the academic institution ISCTE-IUL that is based in Lisbon, and the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), which are all members of the Europe-Africa Policy Research Network (EARN). It was attended by African and European stakeholders, including the United Nations African Institute for Economic Development and Planning, the European Commission, representatives from donor countries and Portuguese civil society, practitioners, academics, government officials and policy-makers.
The themes discussed were as follows: (1) the impact of the international crisis on the Africa-Europe Partnership; (2) the effects of demographic trends on development priorities and aid prospects; (3) the impact of radical armed groups in North Africa, the Sahel and neighbouring countries on international security and Africa-EU relations; (4) the impact of foreign direct investment and new aid providers on African development strategies; and (5) defining the post-2015 Global Agenda – challenges, opportunities and the potential contribution of African and European actors to the debate.
The main conclusions of the conference highlighted the impact of the international crisis on the provision of development aid, as well as the lack of political will in Europe to adopt the appropriate parenting and migration policies to adequately tackle the issue of its ageing population. On the other hand, the need for strengthening family planning in Africa was underlined as the current high birth rates have contributed to a significant increase in the overall population thus leading to problems such as unemployment among young people. Finally, the need to reinforce the knowledge and capacities of African Governments to implement comprehensive and innovative programmes that pay special attention to young people and the unemployed as vulnerable groups was also pointed out.