25 May 2021
Category : Reportage
The Spanish government recently presented Africa Focus 2023, a Spanish foreign policy action plan for its relations with African countries. FIIAPP, a participant in Spanish activities abroad, will continue to implement this plan through public technical cooperation. We have been doing this with projects that address migration management and the fight against human trafficking as well as the fight to combat Jihadist terrorism and corruption.
Shared interests, development potential and growing geopolitical weight make Africa is a strategic partner for Spain and the European Union. This is an enormous, complex region, with significant political, economic and social diversity . Africa faces major common challenges, from instability in regions like the Sahel and the scourge of terrorism to vulnerability to the effects of climate change, economic and social development and security and control over migration routes with an integral approach.
These challenges do not affect African countries alone. The consequences affect the entire planet, including the European Union. Which is why Spain and the European Union are working to improve relations with Africa , offering support in its efforts to address these challenges as far as possible.
The EU-African Union Summits will consist of meetings and dialogue between Africa and the European Union. The document “Towards a Global Strategy with Africa” was published last year by the European Commission and establishes five priority lines of association: ecological transition and access to energy; digital transformation; sustainable growth and employment; peace and governance; and migration and mobility. The strategy will be used as a framework for strengthening relations with Africa ahead of the 6th EU-AU Summit scheduled for this year.
Spain has also compiled its main strategies for relations with the African continent in its 3rd Africa Plan. With the basis premise “Spain and Africa: challenge and opportunity“, it advocates a new approach to Africa based on shared interests and a broad consensus among the main Spanish players on the continent.
The strategic objectives in the 3rd Africa Plan define the main areas of action: ensure peace and security in the region, foster inclusive, resilient economic growth, institutional strengthening and working for orderly, regular and safe mobility. All this considering five cross-cutting principles: differentiation; association; multilateralism; human rights and gender equality; and unity of action.
The 3rd Africa Plan defines the general lines that will govern Spain-Africa relations in the coming years. To implement this strategy, the Spanish government has published the Focus Africa 2023 action programme. The document will guide the activities of all government institutions in Africa and specify activities until the end of the current legislature in 2023.
Focus Africa 2023 is a part of the recently presented External Action Strategy 2021-2024. It is also aligned with the objectives and priorities of the African Union’s 2030 Agenda and 2063 Agenda . The action plan elucidates the four main objectives of the 3rd Africa Plan and establishes seven main areas.
Partners for Peace and Security
Security is an essential prerequisite for implementing development policies. Africa 2023 Focus pays special attention to the Sahel region and establishes it as a priority area to work by the Union. The document cites the work of the Rapid Action Groups (GAR) as examples of good practices in the region. We work with these Guardia Civil units to ensure regional stability through the GARSI-Sahel project, which is managed by FIIAPP. We also work with the GAR to better protect public spaces against terrorist attacks as part of the CT Public Spaces project in Ghana, Kenya and Senegal.
We also work in countries including Mauritania, supporting maritime security; Morocco, promoting the development of the Presidency of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in collaboration with the General Prosecutor’s Office and in Mozambique , where we are helping to strengthen judicial institutions and anti-corruption mechanisms.
Partners for the development of sustainable, fair and inclusive economies, African regional integration and the fight against climate change
Economic growth and the fight against climate change must go hand-in-hand with social cohesion policies to ensure that no one is left behind. Spain will work with African countries to implement policies that encourage a just transition. Regional integration is another priority, and initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Economic Community of West African States will receive support.
We are about to start a new project to support civil society in local governance in Angola. The objective is to contribute to economic growth and social development in the country through inclusive, heterogeneous and effective participation by civil society in the local governance process.
Partners to boost Spanish trade, business presence and investment in Africa
The priority sectors identified are in this area are agri-food; water, sanitation and waste treatment; engineering and consulting; energy, particularly renewable energy; transport infrastructures; chemicals and pharmaceuticals; and digital transformation, a priority for the European Union and Spain alike.
Effective intellectual property and patent management is essential to ensure investment and business development. In Egypt , we are supporting improvements to the Egyptian Patent Office, particularly in the area of digitalisation. We also have a project that is working to digitalise education in Algeria in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
Partners for strengthening global public services – health, water and sanitation
Africa Focus 2023 prioritises strengthening the health systems in African countries. The pandemic has highlighted the need for strong, resilient health systems able to cope with future challenges similar to COVID-19.
Humanitarian action partners
Humanitarian action will focus on food security and nutrition, protection and education in emergencies. Another priority area is the protection of women and girls in conflict situations.
Partners to promote gender equality and empower women and girls
In line with the government’s intention to develop a feminist foreign policy, it is doubling down on its commitment to support the empowerment of women and girls in all its foreign activities. Among the measures proposed are the promotion of a Women, Peace and Security agenda and more determined interventions to stamp out female genital mutilation.
The gender perspective is a transversal approach applied to all the projects in which FIIAPP is a participant. However, this aspect is getting particular attention in Morocco through the Living Without Discrimination project and in Burkina Faso through the Bridging the Gap disability programme.
Partners for migration and mobility management. Collaboration in the fight against irregular migration and human trafficking networks and encouraging orderly, legal and safe migration
Irregular migration and human trafficking are risky for their victims. Spain is collaborating with security forces in Africa to deal with this problem. FIIAPP is assisting with the fight through projects such as A-TIPSOM. This European cooperation project works to combat human trafficking and irregular migrant smuggling in Nigeria , prioritising women, girls and boys, the main victims of trafficking.
With the National Police Joint Investigation Teams we work through the ECI Niger project to support the government of Niger in the fight against criminal networks , irregular immigration and human trafficking. In Senegal we are also working to improve this problem through the POC project to quash irregular immigration and trafficking.
Development cooperation plays a fundamental and essential role in putting the actions in Africa Focus 2023 into practice. FIIAPP is working in Africa to further the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals by fostering knowledge sharing with public institutions. We do this under the auspices of the European Union, following the guidelines set out in the External Action Strategy 2021-2024, the 3rd Africa Plan and, now, by Africa Focus 2023. The success of the projects in Africa shows the need to continue cooperating in the region and promoting development-oriented public policies to improve citizens’ lives. Public cooperation, for people and the planet.
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