On 23 and 24 June 2021, CEMR, Platforma, and UCLG Africa held the first Africa-Europe meeting of young local elected officials, since the Africities Summit of 2018 in Marrakech, Morocco.
This meeting, aimed at finding new avenues of reflection and action, to bring the continents closer through the action of young local leaders. The participants of this seminar were mostly young mayors, entrepreneurs and other representatives of youth Organisations.
Together, the young leaders analyzed the weaknesses, strengths, and opportunities of the Africa-Europe partnership in light of the lessons of the COVID-19 crisis. This 2-day meeting had 3 main highlights, including the opening of the proceedings with contributions from Mr. Frédéric Vallier, Secretary General of CEMR, who called on young African and European elected representatives to bring the partnership between the 2 continents to a higher level. Ms. Jacqueline Mustache-Belle, Director of the Gender and Youth Department at UCLG Africa, for her part, invited young people to build a collaborative partnership. The contributions that followed the opening of the proceedings emphasized the essentiality of young people for the development of territories on the 2 continents and the need for their inclusion in the decision-making process both on the political level and from the economic and sanitary standpoint.
Ladies Annica Floren, Fiorella Perotto, and Betania Lulu Berhanu from the European Commission mentioned many European Union programs dedicated to youth and especially the place of cooperation of education in what will be the new partnership desired by the young elected officials. It became clear in their message that young people are at the heart of the partnership between Africa and Europe. Ms. Adelaide Hirwe, Secretary General of the African Union’s Diaspora Youth Initiative and Mr. Daniel Ajudeonu of Génération Action Afrique (GAA), for their part insisted on capacity building for young people and its importance for the future of the 2 continents.
The political voice was expressed by 3 local elected officials, Mr. Cemal Bas, Municipal Councilor at the municipality of Keçiören (Ankara), Ms. Thérèse Faye Diouf, Mayor of the municipality of Diarrere (Senegal), Mr. Nektarios Kalantzis, Municipal Councilor of the Municipality of Pallini (Greece), and Ms. Ibticem Atitallah, Deputy Mayor of Sfax (Tunisia). Based on their political experience, the elected officials discussed the means of engaging young people at the political level and highlighted the challenges awaiting young leaders in this new approach to the Africa-Europe partnership.
Thanks to the use of technological tools during this virtual meeting, the participants were called upon in particular to answer the following questions: in a word, how do they see the future of this partnership desired by the young leaders, and what would be the priorities for which the platform of young African and European leaders should initiate discussions and concrete actions?
For the first question, the majority of participants mentioned collaboration, reciprocity, and innovation.
For the second question, the participants overwhelmingly chose: gender equality, migration, climate change, and political and democratic inclusion.
You can see and review the proceedings of the first day and of the second day by clicking on the following links: