The Forum positions the youth of the two continents as the hope for a better future and will address new partnership paradigms between Africa and Europe to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and new skills.
By 2050 a quarter of the world’s population would be African, and it is part of the European Union plan to deepen ties with Africa to counter the growing influence of China, at a time that already 36% of Africa’s trade is with Europe. Eventually these ‘twin-continents’ would form ‘one giant free-trade zone’, as an economic partnership between equals.
Building a new Africa–Europe relationship based on mutual respect and collective decision-making presents a huge challenge. How to move towards a more balanced, mutually respectful, relationship between both continents? How to shift Europe-Africa relationship away from aid, towards investment and trade? How to exploit the geographical advantage between both continents in terms of proximity at the same time as it confronts the politically divisive issue of uncontrolled migration?
Innovation is absolutely key to African stability and sustained growth in the coming decades and a crucial element to how countries achieve prosperity. Each new generation seeks to apply its skills in new, challenging jobs, that offer new opportunities. But innovation is the producer of those new jobs, whether they are ultimately found in a lab, in a factory, or even on a farm using the latest technologies.
Sheer ambition and aspiration of Africa’s youth is the inner challenge to retake the narrative and reinvent the continent’s technological and entrepreneurial future. Innovation is an opportunity, mobilizing knowledge, expertise and resources to enhance Africa’s innovation ecosystem and raise awareness of the ‘continent of the future’ innovation potential. Is Africa leading the innovation revolution? How to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities from the digital transformation that Africa is offering? Which are the most entrepreneurial cities in Europe? Which African cities are growing and blooming now?
Europe is facing demographic pressure. The working-age population will decrease significantly, and by 2050 more than 34 percent of Europe’s population is expected to be age 60 or older. These projected changes in the population structure reflect assumptions on fertility rates, life expectancy and migration flows. Therefore, migration phenomenon can be seen as an opportunity for growth and employment source for Europe and not as a crisis, having immense mutual benefits if it is well-governed. Host country policies governing migrants’ access to labor markets and their ease of integration into local communities will determine how quickly these positive migration impacts can be realized.
It is only a matter about perception – changing the problem and changing the narrative, bringing in a new generation of the African diaspora and perspectives through writers, artists, actors, producers, singers, addressing well known issues about legacy in a creative and simple way. What can be done so Europe and Africa can profit from each other? Which are the cultural and phycological barriers regarding Africa and Europe relations? How to strengthen cooperation between south of Europe and the North of Africa to take the most of proximity opportunities?
Today, impact investment has attracted a wide variety of investors, both individual and institutional, and it is taking place all over the world and across all asset classes. Philanthropy and the private sector are looking to social impact investing as a new approach to international development. Private equity is experimenting with innovative models that engage the non-proﬁt and public sectors with market investments that make a proﬁt and support a public good.
In Africa, impact investing is a growing phenomenon, albeit one which is developing at different speeds in different parts of the continent where Southern Africa is leading the field. Home to some of the fastest developing economies and markets in the world, with real challenges to solve and real ways to solve them. Africa is the land of opportunity and the playground where impact investment and innovation is the upfront. How are these projects evolving in Africa? In which areas can impact investing make a difference? Can “impact” be measured credibly?
State heritage properties are a very important part of the historical, cultural and social identity of a country, and make a rich and distinctive contribution to the attractiveness of a region and the development of tourism. It is therefore crucial to ensure that they are preserved, valued and publicized, and that they are made more widely accessible.
In view of the renovation and use of this cultural and historical heritage throughout countries, it is possible to transform them into an economic asset for countries’ economies, suitable for tourism-oriented economic activity, generating wealth and jobs, enhancing the attractiveness of regional destinations the development of different regions. This panel is sponsored by Tourism of Portugal that recently launched the REVIVE project, leveraging the cultural values as a connecting force between Africa and Europe.