European Union representative Federica Mogherini promotes partnership with African Union
In giving the speech, Mogherini became the first European Union High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission to address the African Union in its headquarters.
“So let me start by quoting the way in which Mandela used to describe his continent, your continent, as 'a region of vast untapped potential,'” Mogherini said. “And this is exactly what I feel when I meet my African friends.”
Mogherini cited a recent visit to Niger as evidence that Africa has the potential for a bright future.
“I met so many young men and women willing to engage,” Mogherini said. “Men and women willing to work for the wellbeing of their communities. To take responsibility for their own life and their own country. This is a land of immense energy. Of immense potential.”
According to Mogherini, there is a lot that can be done between the European Union and Africa to bring out the potential of the country.
“Making the most out of this potential – this is the goal of our cooperation, of cooperation between Africa and Europe,” Mogherini said. “A cooperation we both need – a vital one, for Africa as well as for Europe.”
Increased cooperation would be benefit both continents, Mogherini said.
“In part, I am talking of an economic potential,” Mogherini said. “For more than a decade, Africa has been one of the fastest growing regions on Earth. This continent is an increasingly attractive place to do business. Trade with the EU has increased by half in less than ten years. And more and more, Africa's exports to Europe are made up of processed products, not just raw materials.”
Mogherini added it is important that African voices be heard on the international level.
“There is good news coming from Africa, to the rest of the world,” Mogherini said. “And there are not many places offering good news in these difficult times. On the contrary. The point is: is the rest of the world ready to listen to Africa? Listen to its good news, and to the warnings you give when you see that something does not go in the right direction? The answer for Europe is: Yes. Our partnership is real, our friendship is real.”