Eurafrican Forum explores partnership opportunities between the two continents

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Heads of state and members of government from a dozen countries, investors, managers and academics will explore opportunities and analyze concrete projects aimed at bringing Europe and Africa closer together at the 2023 Euro-African Forum, to be held in July in Carcavelos.

“The theme we will develop this year is: Europe-Africa, opportunities for growth” for this alliance, talking about “investment, infrastructure, energy transition and digital transformation”, said António Calçada de Sá, Chairman of the Board of the Portuguese Diaspora Council, in an interview with Lusa.

This non-governmental development organization is the organizer of the event, which will take place on July 18 and 19 and is expected to be attended by at least 500 people.

With around a month to go before the forum, the organization has confirmed the presence of ministers and public decision-makers from all the Portuguese-speaking African countries (PALOP) – Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and Sao Tome and Principe, as well as South Africa, Zimbabwe and Rwanda – and others have indicated their intention to attend, which could amount to more than a dozen people.

For this 6th edition, one of the themes addressed is innovation, “but already with very concrete projects for Africa”, stressed the president of the organization, which is working to mobilize the Portuguese diaspora to improve Portugal’s image and credibility abroad and publicize the country’s potential.

“Digital transformation: greater integration for a global digital ecosystem” is the first theme to be debated, with speakers including Normam Albi, President of MEDUSA Submarine Cable Sistem, the infrastructure operator born to interconnect the countries of Southern Europe – Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Cyprus – with the countries of North Africa – Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt.

Audrey Mothupi, CEO of the SystemicLogic Group, a global player in financial innovation, data and technology, from South Africa, and Abdellah Menou, Director of the Moroccan Airport Authority, will also take part in the panel, the first after the official opening of the event by the President of the Diaspora Council and Durão Barroso, President of the Eurafrican Forum.

“We are witnessing an interesting thing: Africa, although we always think it is coming later, and it is (…), is coming with the latest version of digital transformations”, and it is a “great advantage to arrive in the last chapters of a digital transmission”, said Ms. Calçada de Sá, to underline the importance of this panel.

“Green transformation: an economic necessity and an opportunity to bring Europe and Africa closer together” is the theme of the panel closing the morning of the first day of the meeting, which also includes two other debates.

The first will focus on “Quality education through cooperation in research and innovation”, with the participation, among others, of Mónica Ferro, Director of the Geneva office of the United Nations Population Fund.

The second focuses on “Strengthening health systems: manufacturing and access to vaccines, medicines and health technologies”. Marie-Ange Saraka-Yao, CFO of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi), is one of the speakers at this conference.

Supporting sustainable financing for growth”, “Opportunities and challenges of internationalization and cross-border trade between the EU and Africa” and “Connecting Africa and Europe through sustainable infrastructure and transport” are the themes to be discussed on the second day.

Foreign Minister João Gomes Cravinho will open the proceedings on the final day of the Forum, which will also feature speakers such as Frannie Léautier, President of SouthBridge Investments, Rita Laranjinha, European Foreign Policy Officer for Africa, and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Nigerian Finance Minister and current Director-General of the World Trade Organization.

With personalities from the worlds of business and finance, as well as academia, science, culture and citizenship, the President of the Diaspora Council sees this as an excellent opportunity to present “concrete projects, many of which are already underway or completed” and “to draw attention to key stakeholders”.

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