Tallinn, Estonia – Estonia works closely with African countries, through both the Estonian AWEPA Section and the Estonia-Africa Parliamentary Group, formed in the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia), on 6 December 2005.
Hon. Mart Nutt, Estonian parliamentarian, Head of the AWEPA Estonia Section, and Chair of the Estonia-Africa Parliamentary Group, gives a brief overview of the history and current work of the Estonia-Africa Parliamentary Group, as well as current relations between Estonia and Africa:
The Parliamentary Group was founded during a round table on Africa, held at the Riigikogu, during which Hon. Pär Granstedt, former Secretary General of AWEPA and former Member of the Parliament of Sweden, was present, as well as Former Economic Adviser to East-African Countries, Mr. Viktor Rajevski; Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Estonia, Mr. Nigel Haywood; Director of the Asia, Africa, Australia and Latin America Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Marin Mõttus; and other representatives of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Parliamentary Group currently has 10 members from four political parties, both in government and opposition: the Chair; the Deputy Chair, Hon. Mati Raidma; and Hon. Andres Ammas, Hon. Hannes Hanso, Hon. Aivar Kokk, Hon. Lauri Luik, Hon. Kalle Muuli, Hon. Meelis Mälberg, Hon. Martin Repinski and Hon. Artur Talvik.
Today, the Estonia-Africa Parliamentary Group’s main function is to organise the exchange of experiences with delegations from the parliaments of African countries. The members of the group have also taken part in several AWEPA events.
Although relations between Estonia and the countries of Africa have been modest due to the lack of finances, the geographical distance and also other priorities, they are gradually building up.
Nowadays, there are increasing opportunities to strengthen Estonian-African cooperation and the Parliament of Estonia will contribute to this cooperation as much as possible, among other things through its development aid to Africa.
Hon. Mart Nutt has been the Chair of the Estonia-Africa Parliamentary Group since 2007, and was Deputy Chair from 2005 to 2007.