No development without security in Africa: EU envoy

Bassem Aly , Sunday 19 Jan 2014

Ahead of April EU-Africa Summit in Brussels, envoy says the two continents must work together for economic progress

EU-Africa Summit Envoy, Hans-Peter Schadek (Photo: European Union delegation to Egypt)

Africa cannot reach economic development "without security," said EU-African Summit envoy Hans-Peter Schadek at a press conference in Cairo on Sunday.

In Egypt as part of preparations for the fourth EU-Africa Summit in Brussels in April, Schadek said that the greatest part of the African continent was "safe," and expressed his hope that international institutions would succeed in solving the internal crises seen in many African states.

He stated that the European Union played an "instrumental role" in helping African institutions solve their own crises.

The EU-Africa Summit aims to enhance partnership between the two continents and open up economic and development opportunities. Drawing a range of high-ranking international observers, the annual summit creates a forum for top-level political dialogue and new joint initiatives in the framework of the EU- Africa partnership.

Previously held in Cairo, Lisbon and Tripoli, this year's summit will take place under the theme of "Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace."

"A common challenge for both Africa and Europe remains to consolidate sustainable economic growth and ensure that it is inclusive in creating jobs, improving public-private partnership and business climate, and enhancing the development of SMEs, with special attention [given] to women and young people," Schadek said.

The EU official mentioned that "many of his colleagues" are currently travelling to Africa to inform different countries about the conference and its mission.

A lot has changed on both continents since 2007, the date of the Libson summit, he pointed out – the EU's enlargement, and growth in Africa in terms of population and economy.

Schadek said he hopes to see more businesses created, a rise in infrastructure development and the training of more workers in Africa since "prosperity is based on economic development."

During his two-day visit to Egypt, Schadek plans to meet with senior government officials in the ministries of foreign affairs, international cooperation, and industry and foreign trades.

Schadek will also meet members of different chambers of commerce and representatives of NGOs, assuring that the latter will not include those "related to the Muslim Brotherhood."

He said that Egypt has been invited to attend the summit and expressed hopes that a high participation would boost collaboration between the attending countries.

These remarks were in response to a question regarding the EU's stance towards Egypt's current status with other African nations -- its suspsension from the African Union following the July ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, and the ongoing diplomatic row with Ethiopia concerning its plans to build a giant dam on the Nile.

"The summit will mostly involve discussions on principles and initiatives", he concluded and added that private companies will handle matters of implementation.  

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