Euronews Debates | The South Africa perspective: Can the EU & Africa reboot their relationship?

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Euronews Debates | The South Africa perspective: Can the EU & Africa reboot their relationship?


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As the 6th EU-Africa Summit approaches, few are questioning the need for a fundamental reset of relations – in particular after the turbulent events of the past few years.

But what precisely does that entail? The path ahead is by no means clear, when long-standing challenges in Africa such as food security and migration are compounded by today’s immediate global concerns of health and climate change.

Euronews has assembled a panel of experts to discuss exactly what needs to happen before a genuinely new era of Africa-EU relations can begin, moderated by Euronews’ Chris Burns.

You can watch the event live in this article on February 17.

President Emmanuel Macron of France, who is hosting the summit, has emphasised his belief that to move forward, there needs to be a complete overhaul of the partnership between Africa and Europe.

Recently, he spoke of the desire to “establish a genuine system of peace and prosperity to build investments in African economies and build [a] shared future,” with the aim of “reforging an economic and financial New Deal with Africa.” He acknowledged that relations between the continents were “tired’.

When looking at South Africa’s post-COVID-19 strategy, one might say that the country can weigh the balance among the other African member states who will be present at the summit.

Despite the severe disruption, President Ramaphosa is seeking to rebuild the capacity of the state, for example via Operation Vulindlela and modernising network industries, including electricity, water, transport, digital communications, and more infrastructures.

South Africa wishes to be an investment-friendly environment and has piqued interest with global investors through increasing engagement and networking. Its plan is to have more than 1,000 International Companies operating and investing in South Africa by 2025.

As for its green transition, the country was under the spotlight in October, during the COP26 in Glasgow, when it won a commitment for at least $8.5 billion and technical assistance towards a transition to a low carbon economy.

Yet, concern is felt by policymakers that on both European and African sides, a traditional ‘donor-recipient’ mindset persists, despite being outdated and detrimental to all parties.

The panellists will be also addressing many of the key issues that impact the future of South Africa and the EU, including sustainable development, security, energy, education and economic integration. How can mutually beneficial business partnerships be helped flourish? What needs to be put in place for the digital transformation of key industries? What’s the best way to prevent ‘brain-drain’ in Africa?

Our panellists will be discussing these key questions and other pressing issues. Audience members will also have the chance to put their own questions to the panel in a Q&A session at the close of the debate.

    Luisa Santos, Deputy Director General, Business EuropeDomenico Rosa, Head of Unit – Head of the Task Force on Post Cotonou, European CommissionBajabulile Swazi Tshabalala, SVP of African Development Bank GroupDr Carlos Lopes, African Development Economist and Honorary Professor, Nelson Mandela School of Governance, UCTRonak Gopaldas, Director, Signal RiskColin Coleman, Former CEO Goldman Sachs, Former Senior Fellow and Lecturer at Yale University


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