Addressing a high-level discussion organised by the United Nations International Development Organisation on the occasion of Africa Industrialisation Day, President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca expressed her hope that such discussions on the eve of the African-EU Summit, which is to be held in Abidjan, will be effective catalysts 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.
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 effectively and sustainably its full potential”, President Coleiro Preca said.
The President said that the very first and foremost investment that African countries need is “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 the eve of African-EU Summit, President Coleiro Preca said that she hopes this summit will bring a genuine sense of commitment from all sides for the prosperity of Africa, and that it will hopefully revitalise the intention of a continuous process of dialogue between the two continents, but even more so for a proper plan of action with effective and targeted deadlines for its implementation.
The President called for the opening up of a full democratic and continuous process of proper consultation, where African nations are properly heard. This will ensure that Europe will in fact fulfil its democratic vision with Africa.
Referring to the 4th Sustainable Development Goal of the United Nation’s Agenda 2030, which outlines the importance of education, the President said that education is the key to prosperity, adding that Africa needs a strong collaboration between our respective governments and the private sector to identify the needs to further education and training. The President said that Africa needs proper commitment towards a tangible process to ensure that education is truly accessible to all Africans.
On business and trade collaboration, President Coleiro Preca said that, from her own personal experience during recent state visits to African countries, during which she also led trade delegations, she could experience 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. This is highly possible because just from a prima facie glance one can easily conclude that Africa, with its climatic characteristics, can easily become an ideal example of alternative energy.
“I truly dream, for example, of the Sahara Desert becoming a powerhouse for Africa and probably 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.
The President commended the work of UNIDO, Global Africa, the African Union and other collaborators for bringing much needed visibility to Africa’s needs for prosperity.