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Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf discusses the future of Africa-Europe relations

Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf discussed how reshaping Africa-Europe relations with the goal of a common future in mind could help increase gender equity, battle corruption, and drive pandemic recovery.  

As Honorary President of the Africa-Europe Foundation (AEF), Madam Sirleaf spoke with Africanews about the ideas that drive the AEF’s mission, which aims to expand the Africa-Europe partnership and use increased cooperation to unlock opportunities and new avenues for development.  

The partnership aims to combat major issues Africa faces, such as food insecurity, which affects 250 million people on the continent. The AEF’s plans to improve the Africa-Europe agri-food partnership will help address this particular issue by prioritizing agriculture advocacy within African countries and focusing on areas most in need. Investing in women working in the informal sector is therefore crucial, explained Madam Sirleaf, as “most agricultural activity takes place amongst women—women who have less than full access to the factors of production.”

Madam Sirleaf said that another key objective of the AEF’s partnership is reducing corruption across Africa. She stressed that transparency and accountability are key to achieving this goal, which is why all activities financed through the AEF’s bilateral relationship will be monitored: 

“I’m glad that the Africa-Europe Foundation provides another opportunity to be able to stress the importance of fighting corruption, and we can use the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, which tracks the progress and the level of constraints of governance, in all countries.”

Madam Sirleaf was joined by former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, who also serves as an Honorary President of the AEF. Both leaders stressed that the plan to reshape Africa and Europe’s common future must be inclusive and transgenerational, and they were confident that the partnership was the beginning of a new chapter in Africa-Europe relations. 

You can watch the full interview here.

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