A more mature and contemporary Africa-EU partnership can help us address the global challenges we face. Together we can strengthen democracy and human rights, and foster sustainable economic and human development in our societies.

    Good co-ordination of the EU's external policies is vital if we want to make the most of the global opportunities we are presented with and be a responsible actor on the international stage.

    The S&D Group is pleased to announce that the next edition of our Africa Week initiative, the S&D Group's Africa Week 2018, will take place from Monday 5 November to Friday 9 November 2018 in Brussels.


S&D GROUP AFRICA WEEK 2016 - 2017 - 2018

The S&D Group is delighted to have successfully hosted the second S&D Group Africa Week this year. The 2017 edition addressed the theme ‘Youth and the Future of Africa’ and took place from Monday 25 to Thursday 28 September in Brussels.

Find out more about the S&D Group Africa Week 2018 programme below.

The S&D Group is pleased to announce that the next edition of our Africa Week initiative, the S&D Group's Africa Week 2018, will take place from Monday 5 November to Friday 9 November 2018 in Brussels.

S&D Group Africa Week Programme - 5 to 9 November 2018


Monday 5 to Friday 9 November 2018

Monday 5 November

9.30-18.00 2nd S&D Group Seminar of African and European Youth Representatives
Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa and in Europe
Internal event (not open to the public)
European Parliament, Brussels
Interpretation: EN, FR

19.30-21.30 Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - S&D Group Conference
The Role of Investigative Journalism in Fighting Corruption and Tax Evasion in Africa and in Europe
Public event
Auditorium TBC, Campus du Solbosch, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 1050 Brussels
Interpretation: TBC

Tuesday 6 November
TBC Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) - SOLIDAR Conference
Title TBC
Public event
Foundation for European Progressive Studies, Rue Montoyer 40, 1000 Brussels

14.00-16.00 Global Progressive Forum (GPF) Conference
Nelson Mandela - 100th Anniversary
A celebration of Mandela’s legacy and reflection on democracy and good governance in Africa
Public event
Room JAN4Q2, European Parliament, Brussels
Interpretation: EN, FR

16.30-18.15 1st GPF Africa-Europe Progressive Parliamentary Dialogue
Increasing Democratic Participation and Engaging Citizens in Africa and in Europe
Internal event (not open to the public)
with the participation of African and European progressive Members of Parliament, and Members of the S&D Group in the European Parliament
Room ASP 1E1, European Parliament, Brussels
Interpretation: EN, FR

Wednesday 7 November

Morning S&D Group Meeting
Presentation of the
• conclusions of the 1st GPF Africa-Europe Progressive Parliamentary Dialogue
• message of the 2nd S&D Group Seminar of African and European Youth Representatives
Internal event (not open to the public)
European Parliament, Brussels

15.30-18.30 S&D Group Conference
Africa-Europe Partnership: A Vision Beyond Migration
Public event
Room ASP 3G3, European Parliament, Brussels
Interpretation: EN, FR

19.30-22.30 BOZAR - S&D Group Cultural Event
Afro-Cyber-Feminist Connections
(and PES Women - S&D Group reception TBC)
Public event
BOZAR, Rue Ravenstein 23, 1000 Brussels

Thursday 8 November

9.00-10.45 S&D Group Seminar
African Continental Free Trade Area: Making It Work for Africa
Public event
Room ASP 3G2, European Parliament, Brussels
Interpretation: EN, FR

11.00-12.45 S&D Group Seminar
Combating Modern Slavery in Africa and in Europe
Public event
Room ASP 3G2, European Parliament, Brussels
Interpretation: EN, FR

Afternoon S&D Group “Go Local” Event
The Role of African Diaspora in European Societies and Towards Africa
Public event
Venue TBC, Brussels
Hosted by MEP Maria Arena

Friday 9 November

S&D Group “Go Local” Events
The Role of African Diaspora in European Societies and Towards Africa
Public events
Germany (city TBC) - hosted by MEP Norbert Neuser
Italy (city TBC) - hosted by MEP Cécile Kyenge

for one or several public events of the
S&D Group Africa Week 2018

Empowering women and young people

Empowering women

Women’s rights are first and foremost human rights, but societies where women can expect justice and equal opportunities are also more successful. We believe therefore that empowering women is not only a matter of justice, but also essential for building successful societies.

We are working together with other international partners to empower African women, defend their rights and prevent violence and discrimination. We strive to ensure that the rights of women are respected, that access to education is available for all and that violence against women is eliminated – in law and in practice. The S&Ds also want to see the empowerment of women lead to greater participation in the political life of their communities.  

Young people

Empowering young people means investing in people by creating an environment where they can achieve their potential. Empowered and educated young people are vital for the future of their communities – and for the entire world. We believe that with co-ordinated action between African and European partners, young Africans can make the difference in tackling global, regional and local challenges. We are convinced that creating opportunities for young Africans is crucial: they have an enormous potential to shape their societies, foster democracy and the rule of law, promote human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as finding innovative solutions to the issues they face. We call for free high-quality education, investment in skills and improving employment opportunities.


Education is vital for building better futures and we have launched an initiative focused on supporting proper education for young generations missing out on schooling through conflicts and humanitarian crises. We are working together with the United Nations, other EU institutions, and civil-society organisations at a European and global level to create political support and solid financial backing for international projects in this field. Through our #Educa initiative, we want to offer future generations access to appropriate education in order to help them build more peaceful and responsible societies.
Find out more about #Educa and how we have raised the level of aid funding for education.

Sustainable Development Goals and climate action

Sustainable Development Goals and eradicating poverty

We believe that sustainable development and eradicating poverty must be global priorities. The Sustainable Development Goals agreed at the UN Summit in September 2015 set out an ambitious agenda, but there is still much to do.

We must work towards stronger development policies to build effective social protection systems and to provide universal access to all levels of education and health for the most vulnerable, creating more inclusive societies. This also means we need a sustainable approach to agriculture and resources promoting responsible energy use, universal access to drinking water and sanitation, and tackling climate change and unsustainable production and consumption. We are fighting for more international environmental co-operation, technological innovations and incentives for governments implementing progressive environmental policies.

The S&Ds are also committed to taking action on gender equality, especially when it comes to education and health.  Women can play a crucial role in fighting against discrimination and for development, for example on improving maternal health and reducing child mortality rates. The current humanitarian crisis at Europe's borders has also highlighted the need for a new global approach, combining the fight against forced migration and the promotion of regular migration as a development engine, for both countries of origin and destination.

Read our 10 pledges for solidarity and development.


The Paris agreement reached in December 2015 was a milestone in the international efforts to combat climate change. Yet, much more work is needed to help those who are already feeling the effects of these changes. Some African countries are particularly vulnerable and face the threat of famine, forced migration and even new conflicts.

The S&D Group is committed to improving the resilience of local populations and helping them prevent and reduce disaster risks – and to ensuring adequate resources are allocated. In the same vein, we wish to see Africa fulfilling its potential and becoming a world leader in the production and use of renewable and efficient energy that respects environmental standards.

Democracy and good governance

The S&Ds play a leading role in the European Parliament in supporting the people of Africa, addressing humanitarian and development needs, and promoting the values of democracy and good governance. At the beginning of the new millennium, the EU launched a new dialogue with Africa which aimed to build a strategic partnership with the continent. In recent years, the EU has also been active in responding to the Arab Spring in North Africa and to serious challenges in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa regions. Actions intended to address instability in these regions must form part of a broader strategy involving good governance, development, humanitarian action and, above all, restoring the rule of law. 

Fair trade and the fight against conflict minerals

Fair trade

Trade can support our development and humanitarian goals. We believe it can and should create economic growth to reduce poverty; help combat discrimination and improve the situation of women and children; strengthen respect for the environment and for social and safety standards; reinforce the rule of law, labour standards and human rights; involve trade unions and civil society; and boost regional integration.

Conflict minerals

The S&Ds continue to lead the battle for the traceability of the raw materials used in many everyday products, which are sometimes sourced in conflict zones, fuelling armed conflicts, slave labour and human-rights abuses. This has to change and we want to see mining become a source of economic development and benefits for local communities, rather than a dangerous activity responsible for driving people off their land, drawing innocent children into armed conflict and undermining development as a whole.

After a long campaign by the S&Ds, the European Parliament reached an agreement with the EU Council on 15 June 2016 for a new regulation. Despite strong Conservative opposition, the Socialists and Democrats secured a legally binding scheme to ensure traceability. The goal of the S&D Group is to ensure that regulating the use of conflict minerals is not some optional add on, but is mandatory.

This has struck a harsh blow to the criminal militias that, in many regions of the world – especially in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – massacre, abuse and rape women and children in order to exploit the mining of tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold. European citizens must be able to have confidence that their tablet, mobile phone or PC is not made of minerals stained with innocent blood. We are fighting to end the trade in conflict minerals.

Field visits

Africa is a top priority for the S&Ds. This is why our MEPs have been on a series of fact-finding missions over recent years to meet with locals, experts and politicians on the ground.

Our MEPs have visited many different countries and regions, including Sierra Leone (February 2017), Kenya (February & December 2016), Ghana (December 2016), Gambia (September 2016), DRC (September 2016), Gabon (August 2016), Mali (July & September 2016), Namibia (June 2016), Ethiopia (April 2016), Botswana (April 2016) Uganda (February 2016) and Tanzania (October 2015). Aside from these S&D visits, our MEPs have also taken part in numerous European Parliament missions to act as international observers, helping to ensure elections are free and fair.

A key visit for us was in April 2015, when a delegation of S&D MEPs, led by President Gianni Pittella, visited the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to meet with the government and officials, the Sakharov Prize Laureate Dr Mukwege and civil-society and business representatives working on human rights, democracy and the fight against conflict minerals. The S&D Group has made violence against women and the banning of conflict minerals a top priority of its political action in the European Parliament. The aim of the mission was to better understand the reality on the ground and how the European Union can help local communities overcome 20 years of civil war.

In May 2017, S&D president Gianni Pittella led an S&D delegation to Nigeria and Guinea to get an overview of the political, security, social and economic situation in both countries – especially to better understand the causes of irregular migration and the solutions to stem the flow of young people leaving Africa illegally. The mission also fed into the S&D Group’s long-term strategy for Africa, addressing the biggest challenges facing both Africa and Europe: migration; the threat of terrorism and radicalisation; climate change; infectious diseases (post-Ebola) and epidemics; managing Africa's demographic boom; the need to consolidate democracy and build effective institutions; and making the best use of the continent's natural resources. The delegation held meetings with parliamentarians, governments, universities, non-governmental organisations and stakeholders, and also visited the Malkohi official and unofficial refugee camps in Yola, in north-east Nigeria, which hosts thousands of internally displaced people fleeing Boko Haram and famine.

Gianni Pittella and Cécile Kyenge at Malkohi refugee camp, Nigeria



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