Speech by Minister Schreinemacher about the Africa Strategy
Speech by Liesje Schreinemacher, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. Consultation with African ambassadors on Monday 5 December 2022. The spoken word applies.
Your Excellencies, thank you all for joining us this afternoon.
Let me first reaffirm what my fellow minister Wopke Hoekstra just said: mutual respect, common interests and sincere partnership are at the heart of our Africa Strategy. Together, they are the common thread running through every policy.
To me, partnership means mutual efforts and mutual benefits.
We are well aware of Africa’s potential. And of everything you bring to the table.
To achieve sustainable, inclusive economic development, we need to work together as equal partners. That is what our new strategy is all about.
Let me highlight the three main themes the Netherlands will focus on:
Firstly, trade and development cooperation.
This will be a major focus of our strategy. The need for both is clear. And trade and development can reinforce each other, they go hand in hand.
This year the Netherlands drew up its new policy on foreign trade and development cooperation, titled ‘Do what we do best’.
The title hints at the unique added value that the Netherlands can bring. Although the policy is global in scope, it is closely linked to our Africa Strategy.
Secondly, we need to talk about investment.
It’s clear that serious investment is needed to achieve the SDGs in Africa. And to accelerate the implementation of Agenda 2063.
I firmly believe that private-sector development, economic cooperation and trade are the keys that will unlock inclusive prosperity and growth in Africa.
Like Europe, Africa has chosen the path of economic integration. You are opening borders and connecting countries.
It should be no surprise that the Netherlands is ready to support you in achieving that goal. I am curious to hear from you where you think the greatest added value of The Netherlands and the EU is when we talk about economic development?
We will work with you to open trade corridors, and integrate African businesses in European value chains. With an added focus on sustainability and digitalisation.
Let’s not forget that the green economy offers Africa great opportunities.
Your continent possesses valuable renewable energy sources, great potential for green hydrogen production, and unique natural wealth.
Together, we can ensure that Africa makes full use of this enormous potential.
Thirdly, I would like to discuss poverty reduction, and inclusion.
African countries have been hit hard by the war in Ukraine. This conflict has been nothing short of a hand grenade thrown into the world’s food system, making even more people in Africa food insecure.
Thankfully, there are also signs of hope.
As a result of the current food crisis, countries in Africa have taken matters into their own hands.
By boosting local food production and increasing support to rural farmers, Africans are working hard to reduce their dependence on the world market.
Likewise, many African countries are making significant advances when it comes to lifting people out of poverty.
And yet, given the scale and urgency of the challenge, collective engagement remains necessary.
That is why we aim to work with you to create the right conditions for development. This includes policy coherence, governance and the rule of law. And let’s not forget the role that youth can play, how can we work together to unlock their full potential?
Africa is a continent on the move. On the move to a more prosperous and sustainable future. Let’s take this opportunity to share our ideas, and then challenge and refine them. I look forward to it.