Event Africa – Europe partnership

Building bridges between African and European young local leaders 

“Three quarters of the African population is below 35 years old, yet they are often excluded from political participation” stated Annica Floren, Acting Head of Unit for youth, education and culture at the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA). She was speaking at a two-day online event co-organised by CEMR, PLATFORMA and UCLG Africa on 23-24 June.

The inspiring panellists answered some of these questions: How can we ensure that young people are given a place in the political arena and on the international stage? How can we work to understand better their needs and desires to build the world of tomorrow? And finally, how can this partnership contribute to building bridges between African and European youth to face their common challenges together?

Read more about the event in the wrap up article, Building Bridges between the European and African Young Local Leaders to Tackle Common Challenges.


Africa and Europe face a growing number of common challenges, such as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and climate change. For Europe’s partnership with Africa, these challenges have highlighted the value of global solidarity and mobilisation across borders – especially between local and regional governments. Also, in these uncertain times, local and regional governments from both continents have reinforced their determination for closer cooperation.

The current context requires common actions. Young local leaders from Africa and Europe need to engage in collective dialogues to seize the shared opportunities that lie ahead, to exchange solutions to common issues and to drive change for more inclusive and sustainable societies.

Aiming at advancing the work started at conferences in Abidjan and Marrakesh, CEMR, PLATFORMA and UCLG Africa would like to suggest ways of bringing Africa and Europe closer in a win-win partnership. This is why they organised a two-day online event on 23–24 June 2021. An event where young elected officials, youth organisations and several representatives and partners from the European and African continents shared the stage to meet and get to know each other, to take the partnership to a new level and to work on challenges of joint interest in a spirit of friendship and commitment.

Day 1: Which future for Africa-Europe relations?

If the current crisis has taught us anything, it is that cooperation between Africa and Europe is more important than ever and has to be based on a clear understanding of our respective and joint responsibilities. Also, national governments as well as local actors need to build on each other’s strengths, to learn from each other’s experiences and to meaningfully engage with civil society, in particular youth organisations. Indeed, young Africans and Europeans have a say in creating a solid and mutually beneficial relationship; and leaders from both continents must co-develop a youth-led and youth-centred vision to ensure a future that reflects and meets their needs and aspirations, while capitalising

on their talents and new ways of engaging in politics.

Visual Tamsin Daniel Adelaide BitaniaVisual Cemal Tamsin Thérèse 1


Day 2 - Towards a collaboration for African and European young local leaders 'Up to Youth!'

Communication technologies have shrunk the distance between our continents, and we live together in ever more connected ways. Why not seize this opportunity to bring Africa and Europe closer and explore how we can best tap into our network’s potential and maximise our impact as a consolidated group!

This session aimed to strengthen and promote joint collaboration by initiating a permanent dialogue between young local leaders from both continents. A practical session unlocked and boosted synergies for better cooperation, to define together joint strategic priorities, and to deepen the discussions on common areas of action.

The CEMR policy Officer for Migration and Integration & IncluCities Project Officer Maria Grazia Montella joined the panel "Beyond borders", putting climate change and migration in focus as shared priorities for Africa and Europe - on the second day of the conference. 

Brides of the Sun, is a video about an investigative journalistic project presenting the hidden story behind climate change. A different perspective in understanding the consequences of the changing climate, especially the effects it has on the younger generation. However, Grazia Montella reminded on some possible solutions and alternatives to migration. Her contribution opened an interesting perspective around climate change and migration, see her PPT. 

Visual day 2 Grazia Nektarios IbticemVisual day 2 Aoudou Fiorella Maialen