Africa has been and will continue to be a priority for the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament. For us, Africa is an equal partner in endeavours, aspirations and dreams to fight inequality so our actions must mirror this reality. The global pandemic of Covid-19 has magnified the scourge of inequality within Africa. Inequality and its consequences, compounded by the old challenges of extreme poverty, hunger and unemployment, are our main concerns.
We continue to emphasise the need to further strengthen the partnership between Africa and the EU as part of the solution to these challenges. The new heights of Africa-EU relations are being put to the test, now more than ever before. The need to work together to deal with the global pandemic and its effect is imperative. The significance of the New Partnership is in part based on the capacity to pass this test.
The African economy is losing billions of dollars in the tourism and transport sector due to travel restrictions; small businesses are choking due to the unavailability of disposable income up to a level where the majority are unable to feed themselves; private enterprises are generally depressed and hundreds of millions have lost their jobs. Revenue collection has been impacted rendering most governments incapable of providing public goods, services and safety nets for vulnerable groups against a background of elastic social agenda, especially in the health sector in the fight against the pandemic.
Compounding this situation are the old unanswered challenges including the obligation to answer Africa’s population question which is expected to hit 2.5 billion by 2050, these will be predominantly young people. These challenges magnify the complexities around managing migration, tackling inequality and creating decent jobs. The partnership between Africa and the EU must go beyond shared responsibilities and ownership and address the weaknesses exposed by the global pandemic embracing the need to be inclusive, primarily ensuring Africa’s full contribution and participation in the global values chains.
We the Socialists and Democrats fight for sustainable development and inclusive economic growth that will leave no child, no woman and no man behind. We want Europe, together with our African partners, to focus increasingly on political cooperation that is people-driven, addressing inequalities. We believe this will respond to the challenges of extreme poverty and unemployment and will contribute to making Africa a better and more sustainable place for its inhabitants to live. In our daily work in the European Parliament, we fight to reduce social inequalities, enhance good governance, and promote climate diplomacy, sustainable economic growth and the respect for human rights. We believe that the success of this renewed Africa-EU partnership can be key in finding solutions to common global challenges. There is no time to lose.
A more mature and contemporary Africa-EU partnership can help us address the global challenges we face in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 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.