Santpoort, the Netherlands – On 18-19 March 2016, AWEPA’s Political Coordinators, Senior Parliamentary Advisors and Heads of Section came together in a two-day meeting in Duin & Kruidberg estate in Santpoort, the Netherlands.
Guest speakers helped kick off the meeting by delving into some of the current challenges facing Europe and Africa. Mr. Sanne Kaasjager, Head of the Horn and West Africa Division of the Sub-Saharan Africa Department at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs addressed participants on the Netherlands EU Presidency and the country’s views and policies regarding Africa.
In a general outline of Africa’s social and economic situation, Mr. Kaasjager concluded that countries across the continent are making slow but steady progress, and presented as a central challenge for Africa, the building of “accountable, capable governments that are able to deliver security and inclusive growth”. He then detailed the key policies and instruments of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its relations with African countries.
Ambassador H.E. François Cornet d’Elzius, Director of the Sub-Saharan Africa Department at the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also gave a presentation, opening discussion on the evolution of the democratisation process in Africa. H.E. Cornet d’Elzius provided an insight into the different stages of political government since the independence of most African countries, before analysing the current situation across the continent.
During the second part of the meeting, participants held in-depth discussions regarding their roles within AWEPA, following presentations on the organisation’s bilateral and thematic programmes, and donor relations.
The meeting provided an opportunity for many of those politically active within AWEPA to come together, share ideas and experiences, and learn more about topics affecting AWEPA’s work in Africa.