President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca expressed her hope that discussions on the eve of the African-EU Summit, which is to be held in Abidjan, will be an effective catalyst to encourage government authorities, the private sector, international organisations, and civil society to work in synergy.
“I hope that these discussions will bring mutual benefit, in particular to young African people to improve their opportunities for education, vocational training, and subsequent job opportunities,” President Coleiro Preca said, addressing a high-level discussion organised by the United Nations International Development Organisation on the occasion of Africa Industrialisation Day.
The President said that Africa is a huge emergent market with an astounding potential given its young workforce. By 2050, Africa’s population will reach 2.5 billion. President Coleiro Preca also said that Europe and Africa must be seen as two complementary continents, instead of Africa being seen as a continent that creates insurmountable challenges to Europe.
“Africa has the necessary resources but needs effective strategic partners to help develop its full potential effectively and sustainably,” President Coleiro Preca said. She said that the very first and foremost investment that African countries needed was “our genuine investment in the dignity of the peoples of Africa”, adding that Africa must be perceived from an African vision and point of view, and not solely linked to Europe’s strategic interests.
On business and trade collaboration, President Coleiro Preca said that, from her own personal experience during recent state visits to African countries, she had experienced first-hand the urge of African businesses to find collaborations and strategic partnerships to grow and prosper together.
On job creation, the President reiterated her belief that Africa can become a powerhouse which can create millions of green jobs in the process of climate change mitigation and adaptation. “I dream, for example, of the Sahara Desert becoming a powerhouse for Africa and possibly for a large part of Europe,” the President stated, whilst noting that this project can address the serious issues of CO2 emissions, and that it would not only create jobs for young African people, but also supply Africa with electricity and water.
President Coleiro Preca said that she hoped this summit would bring a genuine sense of commitment from all sides for the prosperity of Africa, and that it would revitalise the intention of a continuous process of dialogue between the two continents for a proper plan of action with effective and targeted deadlines for its implementation.