Juncker sets out EU-Africa partnership to boost economy, research
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker delivers the annual State of The European Union speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, Sept. 12, 2018. EPA-EFE/PATRICK SEEGER
Strasbourg (France), Sep 12 (efe-epa).- The president of the European Commission on Wednesday promoted a deeper alliance between the European Union and Africa with the aim of creating 10 million new jobs within a space of five years.
Luxembourgish politician Jean-Claude Juncker gave his final State of the Union address to lawmakers at the European Parliament in the French city of Strasbourg before his role at the top of the bloc's executive institution comes to an end the coming year.
"Africa does not need charity, it needs true and fair partnerships. And Europe needs this partnership just as much," Juncker said, adding that he and Paul Kagame, the former president of Rwanda and current chairperson of the African Union, whom he consulted before his speech, agreed that a reciprocal approach was the only way forward.
Juncker noted that the population of Africa would account for a quarter of the global population by 2050.
"Today, we are proposing a new Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs between Europe and Africa. This Alliance – as we envision it – would help create up to 10 million jobs in Africa in the next five years alone," he said, promoting private investment in the continent, according to the official speech released by the Commission.
He not only wanted to boost EU trade, which currently accounted for 36 percent of Africa's international commerce but also to encourage student exchanges through the Erasmus program.
"We want to focus our investment where it matters the most. By 2020, the EU will have supported 35,000 African students and researchers with our Erasmus program. By 2027, this figure should reach 105,000," he noted.