West Africa
EU and Africa strengthen dialogue, imbued with democratic legitimacy

Guinea-Conakry, with the world's largest bauxite reserves, awaits a transitional government. One in two Africans think about the future outside their own country
Visiting Program
Visiting Program © Atalayar & FNF Madrid

The European Union and Africa face common challenges in a shared responsibility. An African delegation, led by promising young people from Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal and Guinea Conakry, recently arrived from Brussels and alerted this correspondent to the essential role of Europe in reinforcing a closer partnership in terms of regular migratory flows; the urgent need for local production to reduce the level of imports; without forgetting the imperative of digital transformation and the use of the qualified training of the African diaspora to transmit knowledge in a vis-à-vis cooperation.

Thanks to the help of the German Freedom Foundation Friedrich Naumann, the round of negotiations in the Belgian capital has reinforced positive aspects such as the struggle to achieve good governance and the "peer-to-peer" exchange in the dialogues of the bilateral meeting, which has made it possible to observe a successful paradigm shift: the homogeneity of the solutions to African problems, rejecting the paternalistic criteria on which previously rested.

Nadia Nahman
Nadia Nahman © Atalayar & FNF Madrid

According to Friedrich Naumann's Regional Director for West Africa, Joachim Holden, the German foundation is committed to a more ambitious collaboration with African partners, "a new approach to interregional cooperation in the Mediterranean, whereby the perception of the African continent has to change". Emphasising the possibility of progress in its fight against corruption and minimising its negative aspects, such as political instability or the broadcasting of advertisements with children dying of starvation, is a goal that cannot be postponed because "Africa is much more and the world has to witness change".

The African delegation was made up of representatives from the political, social and cultural sectors of Senegal (Mamadou Lamine, Moussa Amadou Sow and Tafsir Thioye); Guinea-Conakry (Nadia Nahman and El Hadj Thierno Moussa DIALLO) and Ivory Coast (Soumahoro Yaya and Philippe Michel Kragne Behibro), who took part in a programme of events with public bodies, universities and members of civil society, as well as institutional visits (European External Action Service (EEAS), with the idea of strengthening relations between the two continents.

Visiting Program
Odilia Abreu at the Visiting Program held in Madrid in October 2021 © Atalayar & FNF Madrid

Nadia Nahman, Chief of Cabinet and spokesperson for the President of the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG), Cellou Dalein Diallo, in an interview granted to this journalist, assured that "the idea of joint co-responsibility in the elaboration of mutual agreements between the two Regions is the new approach of the EU", which has brought about a paradigm shift, accepted with hope by this delegation".

The former spokesperson for the former Prime Minister during the presidential elections of October 2015 and Secretary General of the UFDG Strasbourg Section, Nadia Nahman, declared that the political evolution, although fragile in Conakry, is a palpable reality, a peculiar situation in which "Cellou Dalein represents the only real alternative to the current system". She also stated that the African population is beginning to show an anti-French sentiment and that fewer and fewer African students see Europe as their great future. "Europe is not so attractive anymore; it is not that they reject the French, but they reject the politicians who have brought about the colonial heritage".

Visiting Program
Participant at the Visiting Program © Atalayar & FNF Madrid

For Nahman, who is committed to the fight against illegal immigration, Guinea Conakry is in a unique situation, which is being consolidated after the coup d'état perpetrated on 5 September. The situation of political disorder is described as "calm, and received with joy by part of the population, with expectations that the transition will allow a return to constitutional order, so longed for by the population". "European society has an essential role to play, more than you can imagine," Nahman said.

Thus, the theme of the search for a future outside the country is one of a majority of immigrants who are 25 years old and who constitute the backbone of a country's future. The African continent bears the moral suffering of young people fleeing for reasons of religious or political persecution. "One young person in two believes that the future lies outside their own nation," Nahman said.

In 2018, Guinea Conakry apparently earned $344 million from bauxite mining. A third of the reserves of this mineral (raw material for the manufacture of aluminium) in the world is in the country's strategic domain, and unfortunately, Guinea does not take advantage of the wealth of the subsoil, "precisely because it has a serious governance problem". Hence Nahman's enthusiasm for the round of bilateral meetings held in Belgium, within an EU willing to help in terms of ongoing electoral processes.

Visiting Program
Participant at Visiting Program held in Madrid in October 2021 © Atalayar & FNF Madrid

As is well known, on 5 September last, the military in Guinea Conakry took up arms to undertake a national consultation, aimed at an open and peaceful transition as a major challenge. The army’s special force, led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, may have opened the way to talk of a possible change, in the best sense and in the quickest possible, albeit uncertain, manner. A return to constitutional order and the consolidation of gains that could well lead to inclusive, free and transparent elections could be possible. "European decision-making has reassured us, the coup d'état closes the doors to a day to day of suffering; Spain's role in this context should not be underestimated", said Nadia Nahman.

Human rights specialist Nadia Nahman concluded the interview by referring to the case of Mali, which is unable to exercise its sovereignty, given that the terrorists are fused with the civilian masses. "They are vulnerable young people, uneducated, without perspective, who are supposed to shape the future of a country, precisely those who facilitate their recruitment and the proliferation of armed groups".