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Press release

Prime Minster at Africa Europe Forum: “The new reality demands a solid partnership between the two continents, which is inclusive and based on equality”

The prime minister attended the High Level Forum Africa Europe in Vienna, the main topic of which was the strengthening of economic cooperation between Europe and Africa with an emphasis on innovation and digitalisation, particularly in the areas of agriculture, finance, employment, sustainable access to energy and e-administration.

The forum is intended to strengthen the dialogue between European and African leaders, company representatives, innovation champions and other stakeholders, with a particular focus on cooperation and the building of partnerships in the digital age, and the ensuring of wellbeing and competitiveness on both continents.

In his address, the prime minister stressed the fact that the economies and societies of both continents are becoming increasingly connected, and therefore the need to resolve our shared challenges is becoming increasingly clear. The new reality demands a solid partnership between Europe and Africa, which is inclusive and based on equality. However, digitalisation and innovation offer us an opportunity to face our shared challenges differently to the way they have been addressed in the past.

He expressed his satisfaction that the results of the Fifth African Union – European Union Summit, which was held last November in Abidjan, are visible – the Memorandum of Understanding on Peace, Security and Governance and the new Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs. He also made a commitment to achieve all of the aspects of Agenda 2030, and noted that the wellbeing of both Africa and Europe requires that economic growth does not continue at the expense of the environment and people.

The prime minister concluded by stating that both continents must work closely together in forming partnerships that will enable the development and growth of innovative companies, digital transformation and new jobs, especially for young people. Stability and security, and investments in innovation and digitalisation that provide opportunities for development, are a precondition for the wellbeing of both continents. He noted that Slovenia supports the promotion of responsible business practices, such as decent employment, fair labour standards and environmental protection, including the prevention of corruption in all areas of the digital economy. In order to achieve long-term, mutually beneficial solutions for the coming generations, we must continue to strive for cooperation between governments, private sectors and civil society, and at the same time maintain respect for human dignity, human rights, the rule of law, democracy and an environment which supports our progress.

The event, which was hosted by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and the current Chairperson of the African Union, the President of Rwanda Paul Kagame, was attended by the leaders of international institutions, European Union Member States and 27 African countries, and high-level representatives of global companies.

Prime Minister Šarec also met with the heads of state of Egypt, Niger and Rwanda, whose president is the Chairperson of the African Union in 2018. They exchanged views on opportunities for expanding cooperation between the countries, especially economic cooperation.

The forum included round tables and B2B meetings, which were attended by representatives of six Slovenian companies and the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.