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Nigeria, four others to deepen EU’s partnership with Africa

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The European Union (EU) has engaged youths in Nigeria and four other countries to strengthen cooperation and partnership between the EU and Africa to promote sustainable development, as well as finding solutions to common challenges in the continent.

The partnership will see youths in Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Tanzania, and the Republic of Congo push ahead digital transformation, making farming more efficient and sustainable, building new infrastructure to reinforce connections between people, and shaping the collective security of the continent together with the EU.

The EU Ambassador to Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Ms. Samuela Isopi, disclosed this yesterday during the launch of the 2022 Africa-EU Campaign, tagged “We See Africa”, aimed at celebrating the positive impact of the unique partnership between Africa and the European Union.

Isopi said the campaign underlines the increasing significance of the EU’s long-standing partnership with Africa, and how it is transforming lives, as well as inspiring hopes across the continents.

She said the campaign reflects on some of the initiatives that position the two continents as model, reliable, ambitious and dynamic partners, while also highlighting the strength of partnership that has brought together peoples and institutions of both continents in pursuit of common goals for a better world.

Isopi said Africa shares a rich history with the EU, noting that collaboration between the two continents will ensure they co-exist in peace, security, democracy, prosperity, solidarity and human dignity.

She said in the face of big challenges such as pandemics, security, finding green and digital solutions, climate change and migration, Africa and the EU have already proven to be more effective working together.

According to her, Nigeria is a key partner of the EU within the African continent, noting that the vibrancy, dynamism, motivation and resilience of its mainly young population reflect the uniqueness of a continent fired up by imaginative ideas and relentless optimism.

“The Africa-EU partnership has come a long way and has only gotten stronger. With time and experience, the partnership is allowing us to see life through a truly African lens. An Africa that is full of ideas. An Africa that is bursting with ambition, and an Africa that is changing the world by impacting creativity, education, tech, agriculture, healthcare, and entrepreneurship and doing it all sustainably,” she said.

The EU ambassador said the campaign follows the journey of nine heroes from five of its partner countries: Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Tanzania, and the Republic of Congo who are pushing ahead the digital transformation, making farming more efficient and sustainable, building new infrastructure to reinforce connections between people and shaping the collective security of the continent.

She said the EU has engaged sensational music maestro, Teniola Akpata (Teni) and social media brand influencer, Eniola Adeoluwa as the faces of the campaign in Nigeria to drive the partnership between the EU and the youths.

“We will work with national influencers to express our shared values and aspirations; showcase local success stories generated by our partnership; and connect with a new audience of young Africans, leveraging pop culture,” she added.

Isopi referenced the outstanding accomplishments recorded in recent times as the EU and Nigeria ramped up collaborations to address issues of common concerns, leveraging their strong partnership.

“The EU remains Nigeria’s biggest trading partner, first investor, top donor of humanitarian and development aid, and the biggest diplomatic network. The Nigeria-EU partnership has been ramped up in recent times with the aim of enhancing growth and stability to achieve social equity in Nigeria and in the West African region.

“The bloc is also Nigeria’s first partner in foreign direct investments, with EU companies contributing, together with their Nigerian business partners, to the country’s economic growth, job creation and wealth generation. We look forward to further strengthening these relations and helping create the necessary conditions for the private sector to operate and contribute to developing the Country,” she added.

On her part, Akpata, said lack of financial support and equipment for farmlands are hindering people from diversifying into agriculture, thereby making people perceive the sector as that for the low class.

She said there are lots of opportunities in the agriculture sector, which if explored would help the country reduce its importation rate as well as grow the economy of the nation.

Akpata pledged to raise awareness on exploring opportunities in the sector among the youths, as she is also into agriculture, which she inherited from her late father.

Also speaking, the Social media brand influencer, who will engage the youths in digital learning during the campaign, said it is important for youths to get involved in digital courses as the world is fast adapting to technology.

Adeoluwa said the digital courses, which the EU will engage Nigerian youths with, is germane for economic growth and progress of the people.