EU-Africa partnership topped discussions at the 13th European Development Days, EDD program which held at the Tour & Taxis in Brussels, from the 18th-19th June 2019.
The event with the theme: Addressing Inequality-Building a world that leaves no one behind had over 8000 delegates; 5 heads of state, 30 ministers, amongst other major stakeholders in development, politics, diplomacy, and business.
In his keynote address, the European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, maintained that “I have always believed that European Commitment to the world and in the world, should not be about charity. The Era of charity is over. What we need is a partnership between equals, that can provide and create mutual benefits.” Mr. Juncker’s charge during the opening ceremony of the 2019 EDD is consistent with his call during the 2017 edition, when he states that, “there cannot be a difference between those who give and those who receive., between Europe and Africa…this is a partnership of equals.”
Similarly, the President of Senegal Macky Sall, while presenting his keynote, stated that “when we say that we want a partnership that is based on equality, even though we do not all bring the same things to the table, in the context of globalization ,what that means is that, solutions that need to be put forward are global solutions, shared solutions.” Continuing, he said, “this is why, the European Development Days program should actually take place once in Brussels and then perhaps once in another capital, in Africa or the Caribbean, or the Pacific, so as to alternate the hosting and create inclusion.” He pledged the country’s commitment to host a future edition if they choose to host it in the continent.
On his part, the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, observed that “current assessments show that Africa is on track with the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs. As we approach the SDG summit in September, the African Union and the United Nations will be working together to speed up the pace of results. ”
He also maintained that “both globally and regionally, Africa is beginning to come together to assert our interests with one voice and one of the significant milestones in this regard is the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement, which is a product of partnership and collaboration among countries in the continent.” President Kagame further stated that “there is more work to be done towards ensuring that the agreement addresses major concerns and reduces inequality in the continent.”
Other speakers, including Her Majesty the Queen of Belgium, His Excellency, Carlos Fonseca, President, Republic of Cape Verde, His Excellency, Dr. Lotay Tshering, Prime Minister, Bhutan; all hailed the choice of this year’s theme of the conference and tasked delegates to pursue meaningful deliberations that will help in addressing inequalities around the world.
(EDD) bring the development community together each year to share ideas and experiences in ways that inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.