Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz: Cooperation with Africa on an equal footing
High-Level Forum Africa‑Europe in Vienna
“We now have to change the way we look at Africa. We must not think exclusively of poverty, the threat of migration and a lack of respect for human rights. What is required now are encounters and an honest partnership”,
said Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz at the opening of the High‑Level Forum Africa‑Europe in Vienna. It was a matter of enabling African people to live a dignified, peaceful and prosperous life.
“It is not only about the political partnership but also about economic cooperation. Politicians can establish framework conditions, but the cooperation on an economic level can set in motion sustainable development in the areas of innovation and digitalisation”,
the chancellor explained. By 2050, Africa would have reached a population of approximately 2.5 billion, and would therefore constitute an important market.
“Europe needs to recognise the possibilities offered by cooperation among equals.”
By involving businesses, the Forum could make a significant contribution to sustainable development and concrete cooperation. The Federal Chancellor thanked European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for the planned support for further investments in the African region.
Jean-Claude Juncker thanked the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU for initiating a new partnership with Africa which promotes sustainable investment in the region.
“We are not starting from scratch, the EU has already made available 44 billion euros for the investment plan, of which 37 billion euros have already been committed.”
During the Forum a further two agreements were signed. Small and medium sized enterprises are to be supported by guarantees; approximately 75 million euros will be invested to create around 800 000 jobs. The EU is supporting the Continental Free Trade Agreement by providing 50 million euros.
“We have to contribute more to making trade in Africa better, fairer and more sustainable”
and “encourage” European businesses to get more involved in Africa. The European Commission President added that for this to happen, a “business-friendly climate” was necessary.
In addition, Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, reiterated his demand for a “true Marshall Plan” for Africa, with “massive investment in the private sector”. Such investment could lead to growth and jobs.
“We need to give concrete answers to the youth”,
the President of the European Parliament emphasised.
Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, stressed that the youth should be supported through provision of education and the creation of new jobs:
“We have to tap into the potential of the youth and use the available resources.”
Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, pointed out that the presence of numerous high-level political and business representatives proved the sincerity of this Forum:
“Together, we are strong. This alliance can be mutually beneficial for both continents.”
Prior to the Forum, Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz had already met up with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al‑Sisi in Vienna.
“Egypt is one of Austria’s most important trade partners in Africa and the Middle East. Some 600 Austrian companies do business in Egypt, and the untapped potential remains high. Therefore, close cooperation between Austria and Egypt is in the interest of both states”,
Federal Chancellor Kurz stated.
The High‑Level Forum Africa‑Europe took place on 17 and 18 December in the Austria Center Vienna. Its motto was “Taking cooperation to the digital age”. The discussions concentrated on the cooperation in the areas of innovation and digitalisation, with a particular focus on the question of how the advantages of the digital transformation could benefit everyone.
More information about the event can be found on the event page.