EU-Africa Relations: Time to Refocus Denmark's Engagement?

EU-Africa webinar 3 February 2022

Summary The webinar explored the ways the EU could strengthen the partnership with AU and the African countries. The EU's representative to the AU, Birigtte Marcussen emphasised that the EU-AU Summit this time would focus on conversation rather than speeches. Other suggestions went in the direction of how the EU and its Member States could pool their efforts towards a strategic relationship, whatb long-term funding is needed, how to secure frame work conditions for African and European companies alike in African states, how to best build sustainable health care and last but not least, how to best invest in African young people and prevent brain drain. 

African and European Union leaders are scheduled to meet in Brussels on 17-18 February 2022. The summit is taking place at a time when the world is still trying to find long-term answers to the health and economic crisis triggered by the Covid pandemic, and global actors, such as China, are consolidating their strong engagement in the region. 

After years of slow progress in promoting a strategic and holistic geopolitical partnership between the two continents, the summit is an attempt to highlight ambitious projects supported by an Africa-Europe investment package. Issues on the agenda include public health resilience and local vaccine production, the development of sustainable energy infrastructure, Euro-African trade partnerships, and migration. 

The summit is an excellent opportunity to take a closer look at Africa-EU relations: What are the prospects for a successful summit, which can provide new impetus for cooperation? In a Danish context, the summit is also an opportunity to reexamine Denmark’s policy and ambitions: Should Denmark refocus its engagement, and aim to play a stronger role in the EU’s future strategic relationship with Africa? And if so, how?

14.45 - Welcome and introduction to the keynote speakers by the moderator, Director of Think Tank EUROPA, Lykke Friis

Denmark’s priorities for the EU-Africa summit – by Flemming Møller Mortensen, Denmark’s Minister for Development Cooperation 

EU-Africa relations: Same procedure as last time, or new impetus? – by Birgitte Markussen, Head of the EU’s Delegation in Addis Ababa and the EU’s Special Representative to the African Union

What can the EU do to shape a geopolitical partnership with Africa? – by Gwamaka Kifukwe, Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations’ Africa Programme


15.15 – What is the opinion of public opinion? Unveiling what is probably the first-ever representative survey of Danish views on cooperation with Africa – by Catharina Sørensen, deputy director, Think Tank EUROPA

15.25 – Expectations for the EU-Africa summit - and views on Denmark’s engagement
Perspective from the business community – by Pia Yasuko Rask, Director, Grundfos Safe Water
Perspective from the academic community – by Flemming Konradsen, Copenhagen University
Perspective from Folkekirkens nødhjælp – by Birgitte Qvist-Sørensen, General-sekretær Folkekirkens Nødhjælp
Expectations, hopes and fears among African youth – by Xorlali Yao-Kuma Kpodo, Engagment Manager i Grundfos Safe Water


15.55 – Closing remarks – Kim Nøhr Skibsted, CEO, Poul Due Jensen Foundation

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