Tag Archives: Addis Ababa

EU-AU meeting in Addis Ababa

Opening statement by President von der Leyen at the 10th EU-AU Commission-to-Commission meeting plenary session which took place on Feburary 26 in Addis-Ababa.

“…We are natural partners. And listening to you, I once again realised how similar our challenges and our opportunities are and how natural it is to work together in the mutual interest” president von der Leyen said.

“Africa is home to the fastest growing economies of the world. And your nations and community of nations are becoming more and more united – if you look at the African peacekeeping missions to the new Free Trade Area, I am very interested in them.

And just like Europe, you want to be the master of your future. So there are a lot of common points we have to discuss and where we can find common paths towards the future. I truly believe that the stronger Africa will be, the stronger we will be too.

So I am pleased to be back here with the College, the Commissioners. And indeed, this is the largest delegation of Commissioners as College ever. We never had so many Commissioners on a trip abroad, outside the European Union, so many Commissioners to visit. And therefore, this too is a very strong sign of the interest we have in each other.

You mentioned many topics we have to discuss, be it peace and security or jobs and skills. But, of course, also climate action, the transition to a digital society and economy, human mobility, trade, and many other topics.

It is our 10th College-to-College meeting, we have already come a long way. And we have worked together on security and development from the Horn of Africa to the Sahel, you mentioned it. We have started to invest in good jobs for youth across the continent.

It has become a partnership of equals, where both sides have something to win and both sides have a lot of responsibilities. So we are aware of the challenges, but we are also aware of the common perspective and the common opportunities we want to grasp.

Dear Moussa, when I first came to Addis, I told you that I came first of all to listen. And this is why we are all here today. After our first meeting, we have put together topics, a set of proposals – these will be the round tables today – the four main themes that we have chosen together.

It is first of all peace, security and good governance. Your initiative to silence the guns in Africa is something we are deeply impressed of, we want to support you as much as we can. It is a huge challenge, it is absolutely the right idea to silence the guns. So you have us at your side because this is of utmost importance for the development of this continent. And you rightly mentioned that Libya shows how natural it should be to join forces – we have met indeed in Berlin – but we know how difficult it is to implement afterwards. To keep everybody on board. But this is the essence of multilateralism. It is not only to sit down together to discuss things but it is also to implement them, to stay true to what you have accepted or what you have promised. So there is still a lot to do – we know it – and we count on you and your expertise to improve things knowing how hard this will be. So let us discuss how to best link your initiatives and our initiatives.

Second, on trade and investment. We all know the questions we have in front of us. How to make the most of your new Free Trade Area. How to bring investment to Africa. Indeed, as you mentioned, Europe is the largest investor in Africa and the largest trade partner to Africa. So there is a lot we have to share – a lot of technologies and expertise we can share. We would like to hear what you expect from our partnership, and how far you are willing to go.

Third, on the transition towards a cleaner, carbon-neutral and digital economy. I think no one understands climate change better than you. I just have to mention the growing desert. And all of us, in our continents, in Africa and in Europe, we see already and fear the consequences of climate change – the floodings, the draughts, the grief over losing species – we call it biodiversity. The knowledge that we have to profoundly change the way we produce and consume into a circular economy with respect to nature, live in harmony with nature. There is a lot we have to change, but also a lot of opportunities ahead of us we want to grasp – with new technologies and new opportunities. And the same goes, of course, for the digital age – I know that there is a thirst for digital skills in young Africans and young Europeans – let us join forces there, let us give them the technologies, let us give them the skills and, of course, frame the whole thing, because technology is neutral. So it is depending of us what we make out of it – whether it is going to be more positive or more difficult for our societies. And if I may say so, Africa does not have to repeat that same mistakes Europe did in the past. So you can take the fast track towards a more modern and more sustainable economy. Let us walk this path together, in our mutual interest.

Finally, on migration, human mobility and skills. I commend you for your initiatives on giving women full access to finance, full access to entrepreneurship, to create your own business – rightly so, I can only say. It is something where Europe also fights for, struggles with. We are still not where we want to be, we know these topics, but [and] we have improved and still, there is a lot to do. So I commend you on that. I commend you on your initiatives in investing in youth. We have achieved a lot in recent years, also on the topic of fighting smuggling and human trafficking, which disrespects the human dignity. So there, we join forces. And on the topic of voluntary returns: There is still a long way to go, yes. We must invest in what has worked over the years – so we have some experience. Over the last decades, we worked a lot together, we made mistakes, we had successes. So let us take this experience and move it forward. That what worked, we should extend, we should emphasise and intensify. And we must do more so that African youth can find a place within their own societies – through investment to education, health – these are the main topics we want to tackle.

We have come with proposals, but we want to hear from you, too. This is the fourth round table, I am very curious to hear the results. All this is based on the conversation that we will work on our contributions to a new Strategy with Africa. This is the starting point today. This is the very first step we take. It is a big step in taking our partnership – a long lasting partnership – to the next level. I am looking forward to that.”

Michel addresses AU Summit

Speech by President of the European Union Council Charles Michel at the official dinner of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa:

“It is an honour and privilege for me to take the floor as the voice of Europe before you, in Ethiopia, the land of origins and the cradle of the last Nobel Peace Prize. Congratulations again dear Abiy Ahmed.

It is with deep pleasure that I return to this continent, for which I have so much affection.

I am here today to bear witness to a metamorphosis of this continent but also that of Europe.

Your northern neighbour is changing. I am here tonight to speak for 27 European countries. 22 of them never had any colonies.

A new generation of leaders is coming to power. They are not hampered by the burden of nostalgia.

We want to look towards the future, and to our neighbours. We want to tackle climate change and the digital revolution. The two major challenges we are all facing.

Europe wants to speak up on the international stage, where its values inspire its actions.

This changing Europe is looking at Africa with fresh eyes – with respect, optimism and confidence!

Africa is vibrant, full of the energy of youth and it is buzzing with new technology!

A continent of opportunities: that is what Europe sees.

For a long time, Europe remained trapped in an outdated view of this continent.

Africa, too, has at times cultivated a kind of ambiguity in its relationship with Europe.

Our closeness connects us, our partnership is a rich one. Everything draws us towards one another: history, geography, culture and the many exchanges between us.

Europe is your partner for trade, investment, cooperation and development. But this partnership is no longer enough; it needs to be reinvented. We must build a new house to accommodate our many common interests, and we must write a new chapter together”.

Ramaphosa chairs African Union

President Cyril Ramaphosa has officially assumed chairmanship of the African Union at the 33rd summit of heads of state and government at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

This will be the second time South Africa holds chairmanship of the continental body after first doing so in 2002 when the African Union succeeded the Organisation of African Unity, the Presidency said in a statement.

Cyril Ramaphosa began his mandate vowing to end the conflict in Libya and the Sahel region and to tackle world powers fuelling wars on the continent.

Addressing the AU Summit in Addis Ababa on Feburary 9 afternoon, Ramaphosa pledged solidarity with the people of Palestine and Western Sahara.

“We must also deal with the actions of other countries outside our continent that are fighting proxy wars and fuelling the ongoing conflicts,” Ramaphosa said.

“Today we reaffirm our unwavering support and solidarity with the Palestinian people in their legitimate quest for an independent and sovereign State, as well as the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination. We must ensure that our independence and freedom as the peoples of this continent should be universal,” he continued.

Ramaphosa said South Africa would host an extraordinary summit on silencing the guns in May. He also reiterated the Union solidarity with Western Sahara and Palestine.

First Leyen official visit attributed to Africa

“During her first official visit outside Europe today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, President Ursula von der Leyen outlined her ambition to further strengthen the EU-Africa partnership, based on mutual respect, promoting sustainable development, peace and security as well as greater economic ties and tackling climate change. The visit comes ahead of next year’s EU-Africa Summit.

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“Speaking in Addis Ababa today, President von der Leyen said: “I have chosen Africa for my very first visit outside Europe to send a strong political message because the African continent and the African Union matter to the European Union. Today we have seen in our discussions that there is room for greater cooperation between Europe and Africa.“

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“President von der Leyen met with African Union Commission Chairman, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, where she reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to boost cooperation at all levels.

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“The President then held bilateral meetings with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Sahle-Work Zewde.”

 

Ethiopian police arrest Amhara members

Nearly 250 people have been arrested in Ethiopia’s capital and the main city in its Amhara region since a coup attempt was foiled, state TV informed.Ten

Tensions in Ethiopia has been at raise since twin attacks at the weekend in Addis Ababa and the town of Bahri Dar where the army chief of staff, the governor of the region and three other senior officials were killed.

The violence, which the government insists was part of a plot by a runaway general and his militia to take over Amhara, exposed how ethnic tensions are threatening the reform agenda of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

 

African Union Summit opens in Addis Ababa

The leaders of  African states gather for the annual African Union #AU summit which started its activities from February 7.

The refugees and internally displaced persons are in the focus of the Summit taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Nowadays Sub-Saharan Africa hosts more than a quarter of the world’s 25.4 million refugees, the UN agency for refugees UNHCR reports.

However that figure is considered to be a conservative assessment because of ongoing conflicts in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.

According to the United Nations, 85% of the displaced people are located in developing countries, with three African countries – Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia  among the major hosts of refugees in the world.

The activists and campaigners for human rights insist there is an urgency for the African Union to undertake practical measures to address the issue of refugees on the continent.

The #AU will also discuss a standard passport for all African countries. There are expectations that the passports will bring the continent closer to free movement of people alike in the European Union, to promote a viable alternative to current illegal migration.

The AU’s Commission promised to announce the design, production, and issue a model of a passport during the Summit.

However the problem of passports is not limited to its design, or funding. There is no tradition, neither requirement to issue birth certificates in Sub-Saharan Africa, with an exception of some urban agglomerations. The date of birth in the overwhelming number of cases is unknown, which creates a considerable obstacle in identification of  an individual. The case of a notorious Ethiopian “junior” athlete Girmawit Gebrzihair,  causing an international scandal, is a recent example of difficulties the authorities meet, while producing passports for citizens without birth certificate, based only on their affidavit, the method lacking credibility. An alternative for establishing a correct age, can be in use of medical checks with a sophisticated modern equipment, however the are no funds available to engage in such a costly practice.

 

 

Ethiopia receives €89 million EU aid

EU announces new humanitarian package for those most in need in Ethiopia.

On an official visit to Ethiopia, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides has announced today €89 million in humanitarian support for 2018-2019 whilst visiting EU aid projects in the Somali region in Eastern Ethiopia where many people have fled their homes due to internal conflict.

“Ethiopia is an important partner for the European Union. As the country undergoes profound positive political change, the EU will step up support for the most vulnerable Ethiopians. I have seen myself how crucial our EU humanitarian support is in the daily lives of displaced people. It helps them feed their children, provide them with medicines and send them to school. This is EU aid that save lives,”Commissioner Christos Stylianides said  speaking from the Quologi camp for internally displaced people near Jijiga, capital of the Somali region.

The EU funding will be used to address the needs of people displaced within Ethiopia, refugees from neighboring countries as well as tackling natural disasters such as drought. Currently there are close to three million people displaced within the country and around one million refugees from neighboring countries.

The Commissioner is holding various meetings with the Ethiopian authorities. He met Ethiopian President Ms Sahle-Work Zewde in Addis Ababa, where the Commissioner reiterated the EU’s strong partnership with Ethiopia and commitment to support the country’s reform process. In Jijiga he met with President of the Somali region, Mr Mustafa Mohammed Omar and with partners delivering aid on the ground to discuss the humanitarian situation.

The Commissioner is also due to meet representatives from the Government of Ethiopia, as well as the African Union.

Chairing rotating presidency of the European Union Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz visited the Quoloji camp earlier in December to provide additional two million euro for assisting children.

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