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Young activists must shape a new Africa-Europe partnership


Europe and Africa have a long, chequered history – politically, economically, and culturally. However, thanks largely to the relics of colonization, the relationship between the two continents still appears to lack sufficient balance and has the trappings of a donor-recipient arrangement when it can be so much more – a balanced, equitable, and mutually beneficial partnership.

Defining a new era

Europe and Africa are currently working towards a new partnership that will address issues such as trade, economic development, migration, and health. This is a great opportunity to kick-start a transition from dependency to interdependency; thereby creating a mutually beneficial partnership founded on balance and equity, as well as the sharing of knowledge, experiences, and opportunities.

But why should the young people of Africa and Europe be bothered about a new partnership, and the future of the two continents? The answer is simple: most of the decisions taken by the leaders at the helm of affairs will shape the future of both continents and the young people of Africa and Europe will be affected the most. Therefore, it is imperative for the youths from both continents to take action and have a say in deciding their collective future.

What is the Africa-Europe Task Force?

In February 2020, I joined ONE’s Global Activists Africa-Europe Task Force, and over one year, I have felt more empowered than ever to make my voice heard and contribute actively on the issues that are most crucial for the future of our continents.

The Africa-Europe Task Force is a ONE Campaign-led initiative that creates a cross-continental community of global activists to advocate for a smarter and stronger Africa-Europe partnership.  Through various activities, African and European activists are provided with opportunities and resources to deepen their understanding of the two continents’ relationship. The activists also exchange ideas, priorities, and expertise.

The task force aims to provide a platform for African and Europeans youth to take action and make their voices heard loudly and clearly with regards to the Africa-Europe partnership, and other forms of crucial cross-continental dialogue and learning.

What did I do, and why did it matter?

As part of my involvement with the task force last year, I participated in and contributed to consultations and learning sessions with EU and AU representatives, delegations, and other experts as we discussed key issues such as economics, education, job creation, digitalization, youth inclusion, health, and COVID-19 response.

The major highlight was the media opportunities. I had the privilege of representing ONE and Africa’s youth on CNBC Africa last December to speak about the new EU-AU partnership. The program was televised live to over 500,000 viewers in South Africa and was available to millions of people across 47 other African countries and the online streaming platform.

It was a great opportunity to amplify my voice globally, and three months later, the feedback I continue to receive shows that the people who really matter listened, and we must never get tired of speaking up for the future we want. It has indeed been a learning process and now, I feel more competent to speak on the core issues that will define Africa-Europe partnership over the coming years.

What’s next?

As the conversations continue on a new Africa-Europe partnership, the young people of both continents undoubtedly deserve a seat at the table to demand accountability, equity, and inclusion in the new partnership. 2021 already looks exciting, as in the coming months we will expand and amplify our work even more. Follow the activities of the Africa-Europe Task Force as we strive to make our voices heard, and connect with decision makers – it will no longer be business as usual!

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