Inaugural session Europe – Africa

The first Africa-Central Europe Cooperation Forum has been inaugurated on the opening day of the European Economic Congress in Katowice. It is for the first time that this largest event of its kind in the Central Europe has hosted a debate on the economic and political cooperation of the European Union with Africa.

European Economic Congress, inaugural session

The theme of inter-continental cooperation was discussed at the first congress debate, which took place under the theme of “Go global! The World, Europe, Africa. Time for a new deal”. The session was chaired by Aleksander Kwaśniewski, President of the Republic of Poland. 1995-2005.

“Something has changed in the economy of their continent. Africa is a continent of growth. What’s more the continent has the potential to become a new pole of world economic growth in the future decades” – noted Horst Köhler, President of Germany, 2004 – 2009, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, 2000 – 2004.

“It’s not for Europe to do something for us, it’s more like doing something together. The potential for cooperation is enormous” – says Elham Mahmood Ahmed Ibrahim, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy of the African Union.

The Go Global! The World, Europe, Africa. Time for New Deal debate, the official inauguration of the Economic Cooperation Africa – Central Europe Forum, was attended by: Wojciech Kuśpik, President of the Management Board of PTWP, the initiator of the European Economic Congress and of the Africa – Central Europe Economic Forum; Jerzy Buzek, Member of the European Parliament, Chairman of the European Parliament 2009-2012, Poland’s Prime Minister in 1997 – 2001; Andris Piebalgs, the EU Commissioner for Development; Janusz Piechociński, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Economy of the Republic of Poland; Wylbur Simuusa, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources of Zambia’s Natural Environment; Olgierd Dziekoński, Secretary of State at the Chancellery of Poland’ s Prime Minister; and Christophe Joseph Marie Dabire, Commissioner for the Department of the Regional Market, Trade and Commissioner of the Economic and Monetary Union of Western Africa.

(UEMOA), Elham Mahmood Ahmed Ibrahim, Commissioner for Infrastructure and African EU Energy. The Facilitator for the Session was Sławomir Majman, President of the Management Board of the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency.

“The African states will associate into larger organizations so that they can compete in global markets. We are already creating an organization of the eight countries connected by a common currency and customs union. I think that there will be more organizations of this type in Africa. We wish to count in the rivalry in the world markets and we know that alone we can’t possibly be as important as if we do this together (…). It is said about Africa that it is dangerous. In all truth it is a land of paradoxes. But we are here at this party to calm you down, because Africa is also the land of hope, which produces hope for the new future, said Christophe Joseph Marie Dabire, Commissioner for the Department of Regional Market, Trade, Competitiveness and Cooperation (DMRC) of the European and Monetary Union of West Africa (UEMOa).

The Africa – Central Europe Economic Cooperation Forum will continue throughout the second day of the Congress. The discussion will tackle the issue of the economic potential of Africa, and the representatives of the following African countries will take place: Senegal, Uganda, Angola, Tanzania and Zambia. Among the special themes to be discussed at the forum there are: the assessment of EU, Africa, Central European relations, the traditional and contemporary image of a foreign investor in Africa, the internal differentiation of the African economy and the attempt to give an answer to the question of how to invest in Africa.

Africa is the second continent in the world, as far as the number of residents is concerned. It has the lowest urbanization rate, the highest natural growth and the lowest GDP per capita, but if offers the highest returns on investment.

text source: EEC’s press office