News & Media / Prize Committee member Horst Kohler on a chance for a new start for Africa and Europe

Prize Committee member Horst Kohler on a chance for a new start for Africa and Europe

20 October, 2020

To ensure that we achieve both the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, there’s need for a “substantially new partnership” between Africa and Europe with political change and action on both sides, said Horst Köhler, former President of Germany and member of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s Prize Committee at an event organised by the German African Foundation and the Federation of German Industries on 30 September.

Köhler highlighted the significant transformative force of Africa’s youth, where the average age is 18, while in Europe is 45. Giving young Africans a purpose and prospects for living is on the interest of both continents, said Köhler, emphasising that a “substantially new” partnership means one thing above all: that Europe must adopt a fundamentally new attitude towards Africa.

Giving these young Africans a purpose and prospects for living, not least through decent work opportunities, has to be in the interests of both Africa and Europe.

He commended Africa’s coordinated and timely response to COVID-19 and the debt moratorium granted for African countries but highlighted that further-reaching finance relief will be necessary. Moreover, access to a vaccine against COVID-19 must also be available to Africa as a common global good as soon as possible, said Köhler.

The coming months will show whether we have finally given our neighbouring continent the necessary political priority; whether we take it seriously as a partner and are prepared to make changes on our side. The COVID-19 crisis is a litmus test for this.

When speaking about investments, Köhler called attention to the fact that less than 11 billion € – only 0.8% of total German global foreign direct investments – go to Africa. He urged Germany to reflect on the potential of investing in Africa, a market on Europe’s doorstep which will soon have more than two billion people.

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