European And African Leaders Debate Opportunities For Growth In Portugal

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“EU-Africa Alliance: Opportunities for Growth” is the starting point for two days of debate and sharing that will bring together political leaders, businessmen and experts from both territories at the EurAfrican Forum 2023, an event promoted by the Portuguese Diaspora Council, a non-governmental organisation for development.

The sixth edition of the EurAfrican Forum 2023 will take place at Nova SBE University in Carcavelos and among the confirmed speakers are the Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs, João Gomes Cravinho, the Portuguese Minister of Economy and Sea, António Costa e Silva, the Minister for the Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro, the Cape Verdean Minister for Culture and Creative Industries and Minister for the Sea, Abraão Vicente, the Ghanaian Minister of Education, Yaw Osel Adutwum, the Angolan Minister of Health, Silvia Lutucuta.

Great European and African personalities come together for an objective, current and inclusive debate, supported by ideas, proposals, realities and projects of mutual interest of the two continents, in seven panels dedicated to the following themes:

• Green and Digital Transformation

Digital transformation has become a key catalyst for economic growth. Europe and Africa want to harness the power of technology and connectivity, creating new opportunities and aiming to bridge the digital divide.

Reinforcing broadband networks, expanding Internet access and increasing digital literacy will be the topics under analysis in this panel with António Costa Silva, Portuguese Minister of Economy and Sea as key note speaker.

Moderated by Ana Lehmann, Professor at FEP-U. Porto, Chairman/Member of the Board of Directors of different companies, former Secretary of State for Industry of

Portugal, the panel will bring together Audrey Mothupi, Member of the African Leadership Initiative and Executive Director, Systemic Logic Group (South Africa), Abdellah Menou, Director of the National Airports Authority of Morocco (Morocco), Nana Yaw Owusu Banahene, Regional Director Ghana & other African markets at AZA Finance (Ghana), João Vieira, Chief Operating & Technology Officer, MDS Group (Portugal), Vicente Huertas Pardo, Director, INDRA Portugal (Portugal), Norman Albi, Managing Director AFR-IX telecom and Managing Director, MEDUSA Submarine Cable System (Ireland) and Sean Drake, Group Managing Director, Africa 5. 0 (USA).

• Climate and Energy

Europe and Africa recognise the need for a green transformation, not only in response to the imperative to mitigate and counter the effect of climate change, but also for the significant economic opportunity it represents.

Through the Euro-African Alliance, it is possible to share technical expertise, financial support and create partnerships, with the aim of implementing renewable energy infrastructure. This not only contributes to closing the energy access deficit, but also presents new economic opportunities.

Among others, these are issues that will be under analysis in the session that counts with the participation of Duarte Cordeiro, Portuguese Minister of Environment and Climate Action, and Abraão Vicente, Cape Verdean Minister of Culture and Creative Industries and Minister of Sea, as key note speakers. The panel of this session, will be moderated by Fernanda Freitas, journalist and president of Nuvem Vitória Association (Portugal), and will have the participation of Octávio Simões, President and CEO, Tellurian (United States of America), Inês Rocha, Director General for Impact and Partnerships at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (Portugal), Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA – Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (Rwanda), Hastings Chikoko, Director General for Regions and Mayors Engagement and Regional Director for Africa at C40 (South Africa), Manuel Protásio, Managing Partner of the Infrastructure, Energy & Natural Resources Group at VdA (Portugal) and Miguel Pereira Mendes, Business Development Director at CJR Renewables (Portugal).

• Quality Education

The huge window of opportunity to invest in quality education that follows the values of inclusion and meets the needs and ambitions of all children and adolescents is a huge challenge. Education is a fundamental way to teach, train and learn, promote knowledge to find solutions to adapt to climate change, combat pollution, protect people, the environment and biodiversity, promote ocean governance and ensure sustainable agri-food systems.

Yaw Osei Adutwum, Minister of Education (Ghana), and Vivian Onano, Social Entrepreneur and Founder/Director of the Leading Light Initiative (Kenya) will be the key

note speakers that will open and close the debate that will also feature Aïcha Bah Diallo, President of the Education for All Network in Africa, founder and president of Business for the Empowerment of Women and former Minister of Education (Guinea), Claudia Ondo, UNDP Country Coordinator for the Youth Connekt (Gabon) and Harold Tavares, Alternate Executive Director of the Africa II Group of the World Bank Group (Cape Verde).

• Health Systems

The global pandemic of COVID-19 has highlighted the crucial importance of strong health systems and equitable access to vaccines, medicines and health technologies around the world. Europe and Africa have recognised the urgent need for collaboration and joint efforts to strengthen their health systems.

Equal access to life-saving vaccines, medicines and health technologies is also crucial for achieving global health equity. Through collaboration and partnerships, both continents can improve their response to current and future health challenges, ensuring the well-being and prosperity of their populations.

Maria da Graça Carvalho, Member of the European Parliament (Portugal) and Silvia Lutucuta, Minister of Health (Angola) will be the key note speakers at this session. Daniel Guedelha, Founder of Podcast Cruzamento and Member of the Portuguese Diaspora Council (Switzerland), will moderate the conversation dedicated to these themes and which counts with the participation of Marie-Ange Saraka-Yao, Director General of Resource Mobilization, Private Sector Partnerships and Innovative Financing GAVI, Rhoda Wanyenze, Professor and Dean at Makerere University School of Public Health (Uganda), Beatriz Imperatori, Executive Director of UNICEF Portugal (Portugal) and Ricardo Batista Leite, Executive Director of I-DAIR and President of UNITE Parliamentarians Network for Global Health (Portugal).

• Sustainable Financing for Growth

The financial support made available by the European Commission to strengthen cooperation and create opportunities for sustainable development and investment between Africa and Europe is an opportunity to address the challenges and seize the opportunities presented by the dynamic African market.

By strengthening coordination and harnessing the skills and resources of both continents, the EU and Africa can create an enabling environment for sustainable financing, investment and growth.

Filipe Santos Costa, President of AICEP – the Portuguese Investment and Foreign Trade Agency (Portugal), and Frannie Léautier, Senior Partner and Managing Director of SouthBridge Investments (Tanzania), are the two key note speakers who will address these and other topics in this session. In the panel, Pedro Reis, President of the Advisory Committee of the Portuguese Diaspora Council (Portugal), will lead the debate between

Luís Gonçalves, Executive Director of Banco de Fomento Angola (Angola), Rogério Campos Henriques, Executive Director of Fidelidade (Portugal) and Leslie Maasdorp, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, New Development Bank in Shanghai (China).

• Internationalisation Challenges

One of the main opportunities of EU-Africa internationalisation and cross-border trade is the potential for increased market access. By expanding trade networks and eliminating trade barriers, countries can access new consumer bases and diversify their export destinations, contributing to economic expansion, job creation and increased foreign investment, benefiting both regions involved.

However, EU-Africa cross-border trade also poses significant challenges. One of the main obstacles is the complexity of the regulatory and legal frameworks governing trade between different countries and regions. Divergent standards, customs procedures and administrative requirements can create barriers to trade and increase transaction costs. Harmonisation of regulations and simplification of procedures are essential to facilitate and promote smooth cross-border trade.

Three key note speakers will mark the session dedicated to investment, namely Rita Laranjinha, EU Director-General for Africa (Portugal), Sérgio Pimenta, Vice-President for Africa of the IFC – International Finance Corporation (USA), and Luís Miguel Ribeiro, President of AEP – Associação Empresarial de Portugal (Portugal).

Joana Petiz, Editorial Director of NOVO newspaper (Portugal), will lead the debate that will bring together Florêncio Papelo, Economic and Commercial Counselor of the Embassy of Mozambique in Portugal (Mozambique), António Jorge Costa, Member of the General and Supervisory Board of Visabeira Group (Portugal), António Ribeiro, CEO of Africa Proef (Portugal), Luís Cunha, Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company Africa (Morocco) and Seyi Kumapayi, CEO of Access Bank Plc (Nigeria).

• Sustainable Infrastructure and Transport

Connecting Africa and Europe through sustainable infrastructure and transport is a transformative initiative that holds immense potential for economic integration, social development and environmental sustainability. Roads, railways and ports enable the seamless movement of goods, promoting increased trade volumes and market access for businesses on both continents. This stimulates economic activity, attracts investment and generates employment opportunities, while contributing to poverty reduction and improved livelihoods.

Furthermore, sustainable infrastructure and transport systems promote regional integration and cooperation. Increased connectivity between African nations and European countries provides an ideal opportunity for the exchange of ideas, knowledge and cultural diversity. With strategic planning, collaborative efforts and a commitment

to sustainability, the vision of a connected and sustainable Africa-Europe corridor can become a reality.

Paulo Gomes, Founder of Orango Investment Corporation and Co-Founder of New African Capital Partners (Senegal), will be the keynote speaker for this session, moderated by Henry Kamau, Executive Director, Sustainable Transport Africa (USA). The panel also includes Abdelhamid Addou, Chairman of Royal Air Maroc (Morocco), Aloysius Uche Ordu, Director of the Africa Growth Initiative (USA), Filipe Lopes, Chief Financial Officer, Omatapalo Portugal (Portugal), Cláudia Ferreira, CTO Telhabel Angola (Angola) and Neima Ferreira, Senior Director of Business Development and Interim Coordinator of the Lusophone Compact initiative, African Development Bank Group (Portugal).

The EurAfrican Forum is an international contact and soft power platform aimed at stimulating public and private collaboration between Europe and Africa in various fields.

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