“Guaranteeing education, accelerating the training and employability of our youth, promoting culture, putting migration and mobility in order are the challenges of the Partnership between the African Union and the European Union,” underlined HM King Mohammed VI. These future-oriented objectives “should inspire and inform our approach to the AU-EU Partnership,” stressed the Sovereign in a speech sent to the 6th European Union-African Union Summit, which opened Thursday in Brussels. “Neither Africa nor Europe can achieve them on their own.
We have a common responsibility, and our interest in this is no less significant,” the monarch pointed out in the speech, which was read out by minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad, Nasser Bourita. Education, culture, vocational training, mobility and migration “are the priorities of my action, whether it is in Morocco, in Africa or in the framework of our partnership with the European Union,” HM the King said.
The principal reason for this is because these themes essentially concern youth, which is our human capital, the Sovereign added, noting that it is on them that the Partnership between the two continents should capitalize in order to achieve its full potential. “These major sectors have been hard hit by the pandemic, which requires us to take joint action, on a large scale,” the Monarch stressed. In the area of education, at the height of the pandemic, 94% of the student population in the world suffered school closures, HM the King recalled, stressing the need to ensure the continuity of education, taking into account the new context of digital transformation in this domain. Although global, this requirement is particularly crucial in Africa, a continent where 50% of the population is under 20, the Sovereign noted. “Moreover, our schools, universities, and vocational training institutions need, just like our respective economies, a robust recovery to make up for the 1.8 trillion hours of lost schooling.” Furthermore, the pandemic has not spared culture either, be it in economic terms, or from the standpoint of access, said the Monarch, noting that in this regard, the shock has been considerable. “It is therefore necessary today to re-establish cultural cooperation mechanisms in order to reinvigorate the sector, which is a real lever for bringing people together in Africa, in Europe and also between the two continents,” HM the King underlined. Regarding migration, the Sovereign stressed that the pandemic has shown that in terms of mobility, migrants do not have a harmful effect on the economy.
On the contrary, they have a positive impact in their host country – where they are often “essential workers” – as well as in their country of origin, said HM the King. “We should therefore take the question of migration for what it is: it is not so much a challenge as a host of opportunities,” the Monarch pointed out.
“I firmly believe this to be true, especially since as the African Union’s Leader on the issue of migration, I have always sought to dispel misunderstandings. And this is, by the way, the purpose of the African Migration Observatory, whose creation I personally encouraged. The Observatory’s mission is to provide objective data; to re-establish the truth; to reconcile the interests of Africa and those of Europe when they appear to be contradictory; and to replace the security-first approach with the mobility-development continuum, in keeping with the humanist spirit of the Marrakech Compact,” the Sovereign pointed out.