PRESS STATEMENT – La Verticale Africa-Med-Europa (AME) Foundation gathers the AME Wise Persons Forum on 15th July 2021 via videoconference

Under the chairmanship of Honorary President Jean-Claude Juncker and La Verticale AME Foundation Presidency, Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh and Madame Elisabeth Guigou, the AME Wise Persons Forum has reunited for the 2nd time since its establishment on July 2020 to discuss important changes in governance, the progress of its activities and to feed ongoing initiatives relevant for AME integration.

The videoconference has seen the participation of several high-level personalities from Africa, Med and Europe. Projects related to the areas of renewable energy investments, special and secure economic zones, industrialization of the automotive sector, e-learning and academic cooperation have been presented to the participants, all sharing the approach of La Verticale AME: concreteness, shared processes, common interest. The Forum has discussed how to strengthen and support these and explored possible new joint initiatives that can be undertaken within La Verticale AME Foundation framework, esp. in the light of defining the strategic contribution of the AME Wise Persons Group to the upcoming milestones events related to the Africa-Europe partnership.

During the AME Wise Persons Forum, H.E. President Jean-Claude Juncker has announced that H.E. President Mahamadou Issoufou, former President of the Republic of Niger, has officially accepted to share the Honorary Presidency of La Verticale AME Foundation. A strategic partnership and close links between La Verticale AME and the Issoufou Mahamadou Foundation have been suggested and welcomed by representatives of both parties. 

RenewAfrica Initiative has been presented by Secretary General of RES4Africa Foundation Mr. Roberto Vigotti. La Verticale AME Foundation has engaged in a strategic partnership with RenewAfrica, providing a platform for stakeholder dialogue and practical support to renewAfrica Outreach Program in selected Tier 1 countries (Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast).

The Study « The role of African SSEZ in accelerating co-development with Europe », developed within the AME Think Tank Network, was presented to participants by Mr. Jean-Louis Guigou, President of the Strategic Committee at IPEMED and Founder of La Verticale AME. A high-level public aimed to boost multi-stakeholder dialogue and action, enrich study and bring awareness of potential of Africa-Europe cooperation on the development of an African model of SSEZs, is planned for the 28th of September 2021.

La Verticale AME Foundation has engaged in a strategic partnership with the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers (AAAM). La Verticale AME Foundation is supporting the promotion and the implementation of the AAAM Pan African Auto Pact Vision for Africa Initiative, presented in the online meeting by CEO of AAAM Mr. Dave Coffey, which aims to expand and deepen the automotive industry across Africa by working governments to shape and implement policies and ecosystems that will attract investors and unlock the economic potential of the continent. 

Prof. in International Cooperation at KU Leuven Patrick Develtere has presented the Initiative for European Studies in Africa (IESA) – Programme for Afro-European Studies. La Verticale AME is supporting this joint Africa-Europe project, which aims to boost European Studies in Africa (only 4 in Africa, compared to 55 African study centres in Europe) and to revise the methodological parameters with which African/European studies, incl. Africa-Europe relations, are taught. To date, 15-20 African and European universities have already adhered to the Initiative.

Dr. Talal Abu Ghazaleh, Chairman of TAG Global, co-President of La Verticale AME and Chairman of the AME Council of Business Leaders, has discussed the proposal of developing an AME All-Digital University. The proposal of developing an AME All-Digital University is based on TAG Global’s extensive experience with e-learning. The AME All-Digital University would allow for affordable access to quality higher education through online accredited programs offered that would encompass a variety of disciplines, all of which will be designed to prepare the next generation of youth for the digital era. This would support the youth community across AME countries in building their professional capacities and skillsets to enable them to become competitive globally, aligned with market demands. 

The session resulted also in the formulation of a new initiative to undertake, proposed by Madame Elisabeth Guigou and supported by European Parliament President David Sassoli – a proposal for the development of a common Africa-Europe health/sanitary pass to guarantee mobility of actors contributing to Africa-Med-Europe integration. Following Minister of State Mr. Louis Michel’s speech, all participants have also agreed that La Verticale AME should advocate for the creation of a Euro-Med-Africa area of mobility for peoplein the context of a strengthened Africa-Europe partnership, supporting a shift of paradigm in migration matters.

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