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Africa and Europe – A new partnership for development and peace

Africa and Europe – A new partnership for development and peace
Photo credit: Ute Grabowsky | photothek.net

19 Jan 2017

Cornerstones of a Marshall Plan with Africa

More than ever before, our future – and that of our children and grandchildren – is linked to the future of our neighbouring continent, Africa. Africa’s population is set to double by 2050. This will cause global challenges that we need to address today. They include the key question of how to create 20 million jobs every year, ensure food security for the people in Africa and set up a sustainable energy supply system – and how to achieve all of this without impacting the climate or wasting natural resources.

When the African continent faces challenges, it affects Europe, too. Supporting Africa in mastering these challenges is both a question of humanity and also in Europe’s own interest. If there is no sustainable development in the countries of Africa, this will also have a negative impact on Germany and Europe in the decades to come.

Europe and Africa are in the same boat. That is why we need a Marshall Plan with Africa – a concerted effort of a new dimension and with more investment. With this Marshall Plan we want to send a signal of optimism and express our strong commitment to finding a path to peace and development in our cooperation between Europe and Africa.

In 2017, both Germany and the European Union are turning the spotlight on Africa. Germany is making the continent a focus of its presidency of the G20. And the EU is working on a new Africa strategy. The 28 member states want to redefine the basis for cooperation between the EU and Africa by replacing the Cotonou Agreement with a new partnership agreement.

It is time now to find new solutions to new challenges. This paper is a living document. It identifies where there is potential, where there are problems and what could be the solutions. It aims to spark discussion, stimulate ideas and get all political and social groups involved. It is an open invitation to everyone to get on board in analysing the situation and finding solutions. Then we can forge a new partnership for learning and development.

There is not ONE solution, ONE plan, ONE best way of responding to the challenges that Africa faces. They are, of course, not totally comparable with the challenges Europe faced after World War II. But they require the same mobilisation of effort.

This Marshall Plan is also an expression of our will and of our optimism that we can truly find a path to peace and development in our cooperation between Europe and Africa. It must be an overarching and integrated strategy of the European Union and its member states and the states of the African Union. The focus will be on fair trade, more private investment, more bottom-up economic development, more entrepreneurial spirit and, above all, more jobs and employment.

African ownership must be strengthened and the days of “aid” and of “donors and recipients” put behind us. The EU and its member states want to engage in a partnership between equals. That means reaching a new agreement on political, economic, social and cultural cooperation. Our starting point will be the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Our aim is an Africa that is both prosperous and at peace, where development benefits all and is powered by the African people. We want African solutions to African challenges.

As we enter this key year for Africa, we call on all our African partners, all experts in civil society – from business, research and science, the media, churches, business associations – and all those engaged in the various policy fields that are vital to the success of the Marshall Plan. We invite you to join in the discussion on these suggestions and solutions. Help us move them forward. We plan to stage a number of special events and invite everyone to engage in an online dialogue.