Europe and Africa should make joint efforts to invest in projects that would support digital sovereignty on both continents, including joint industrial projects – in the area of ethical AI and open-source technologies for instance. This would respond to some of the gaps in terms of local digital industries on both continents as well as to local needs, and would demonstrate that the EU-AU digital partnership is not simply about trying to export European technologies or about aid, but about reinforcing a free and open internet.
Although it is too early to fully assess the magnitude of the impact of COVID-19 on fragility and conflict in Africa, the pandemic is presenting long-term socio-economic and political challenges which could have long-lasting implications for fragility and security in Africa in 2021 and beyond.
Governments around the world have restricted basic democratic rights such as freedom of assembly, stepped up state monitoring of citizens, muzzled the media with new laws and arrests, and expanded their own powers as part of their Covid-19 policy. Those making foreign and development policy must monitor this carefully. The Covid-19 pandemic is a catalyst for democracy’s demise.
European governments and citizens cannot allow the COVID-19 emergency to (re)determine our identity and interests, erecting national barriers or trade wars. The crisis can bring us together or tear us apart, but the ultimate responsibility will rest on people, the leaders and citizens of Europe, who can determine how we will emerge from this pandemic and redefine what it means to be “European”.
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 calls on states to ‘promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to