The Africa XXI Conference in Lisbon

IPDAL and FNF join forces putting African-European Relations in the Spotlight

Odilia Abreu (FNF Senior Project Manager Madrid) y Mohammed Tawfik Mouline (Director General of the Royal Institute of Strategic Studies (IRES))

© FNF Madrid

Diplomats, representatives from the scientific and political sphere gathered in Lisbon for the Africa XXI Conference, held at the Universidade Europeia on November 23. Africa XXI is a significant platform facilitating the exchange of knowledge on Euro-African relations. Co-hosted by IPDAL (Institute for the Promotion of Latin America and the Caribbean) and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Madrid (FNF), the event aimed to enhance discourse, understanding and cooperation between the two continents.

After a warm welcome by Paulo Neves (President of IPDAL), David Henneberger (Head of Office for Spain, Italy, Portugal – FNF) and Hélia Gonçalves Pereira (Rector of Universidade Europeia) emphasizing the pivotal role of collaboration between Europe and Africa and underscoring the importance of engaging in dialogues not merely about Africa but with Africa itself, the exciting sequence of talks, panels, and keynote discussions commenced.

Filipe Nascimento, President of the Autonomous Government of Principe, delivered the inaugural keynote session, addressing issues concerning African governance and development. Following this, Mohammed Tawfik Mouline (Director General of the Royal Institute of Strategic Studies (IRES)), and Sabrine Emran (Senior Economist at the Policy Center for the New South, Morocco) shared insights centred around the impact of the Ukraine conflict on energy cooperation, particularly emphasizing advancements in Morocco's energy sector and the development of green hydrogen as an energy source in a panel moderated by Odilia Abreu (FNF).

Later on, Vitor Ramalho (Secretary General of the Union of Portuguese Speaking Capital Cities) led a second keynote session, which was followed by a panel on “Women Leadership in Africa” involving Fatoumata Niang Niox and Inês Texeira Pinheiro from the FNF Madrid Euthenia Executive Women Community in Senegal and Portugal, respectively, as well as Camilla Rocca (Mo Ibrahim Foundation's Director of Research). This panel, which stressed the significance of increased female representation in leadership roles across various sectors, also highlighted data showing the positive correlation between women's participation and economic growth.

In the afternoon, a presentation on the report by FNF titled "Climate Change and Migration: Understanding factors, developing opportunities in the Sahel Zone, West Africa, and the Maghreb" was delivered by Amal el Ouassif and Xavier Aragall. Subsequently, the third panel was a discussion on the aforementioned report, not only including the two presenters, but also Pilar Morales (Executive Director of the North South Center of the Council of Europe), revealing how local displacement due to climate change can negatively affect Africans.

A closing session featuring Dr. Lourenço Lope (Assistant Secretary of State to the Prime Minister of the Government of Cape Verde) engaging in a short discussion alongside Paulo Neves and David Henneberger concluded the thought-provoking and engaging event.

This conference provided a platform for insightful discussions, addressing critical issues pertinent to Euro-African relations, including energy cooperation, women's leadership, climate change, and migration. The diverse perspectives shared by experts and panelists offered a comprehensive view, fostering a deeper understanding and laying the groundwork for increased collaborative endeavours between the two continents.