President Macky Sall was in Strasbourg on 9 October, at the official invitation of European Parliament President Martin Schulz. He addressed the MEPs in his capacity as Senegalese Head of State and Chairman of the Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee of NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development).
After beginning his speech with “a heartfelt thought for the victims of the Lampedusa tragedy,” President Sall spoke of the “overlapping, mutually supportive and indissociable” destinies of Europe and Africa. “When Europe is in crisis, Africa bears the marks. And a weakened and impoverished Africa is also not in Europe’s interests.” He stressed how the historical and geographical links between the two continents create a “singular dialectic in which the need for Europe in Africa calls for and responds to a need for Africa in Europe.”
The Senegalese President expressed his faith in the future of the Africa-Europe partnership. The 4th Africa-EU summit of April 2014 must provide the opportunity to renew and reaffirm the privileged relations between the two continents. It can help to “really begin building peace and security, in preventive fashion, to strengthen frontier defence, control and surveillance tools in the Sahel-Sahara area.” “Europe and Africa must not leave the Sahel at the mercy of terrorism, hostage taking, drug trafficking and other forms of cross-border crime,” he stressed, adding that “without peace and human security, everything becomes fragile and uncertain.”
Despite the serious global economic crisis, “Europe retains its status as the leading partner of an Africa that possesses one third of the world’s natural resources, with a vibrant youth; an Africa that is now positioning itself as one of the most promising markets of the future,” continued President Sall. He called for efforts “to support the foundations of stability and democracy in Africa” and to “stimulate trade and investment.” In his view the priority must be to give Africa’s young people the desire to use their strengths for the benefit of their continent. “Prioritising training and jobs for young people is not only an ideal of social justice, it is also and above all a matter of saving young people from the sense of abandon and despair that is the breeding ground for extremism and fuels illegal immigration networks, of which the recent drama in Lampedusa is a tragic illustration,” he stressed. The Senegalese President believes that “access to energy, the modernisation of agriculture, the development of infrastructure, education, training and jobs for young people” should be at the heart of a renewed Africa-Europe cooperation that must focus more on “investing in viable projects.”