‘Europe Day’ 2013 marked in sub-Saharan Africa
Europe Day – celebrated annually on 9 May, the day when the European integration project began – was marked by EU Delegations in sub-Saharan African countries in a variety of ways to highlight the strong links with partner countries and inform African citizens about EU development cooperation and European integration. Activities included: interviews with EU Ambassadors in leading newspapers, the organisation of film festivals, sports events and quizzes and the signing of new EU-funded projects. Some Delegations organised different events over several days.
An interview with the EU’s Ambassador to Djibouti, Joseph Silva, in the country’s ‘La Nation ‘ newspaper focussed on the EU’s cooperation priorities – water, sanitation and energy. An exhibition, ‘Discovering Europe’, was mounted for groups of schoolchildren aged 12-15 who also took part in a quiz about Europe.
Similarly, an interview was published on 8 May with the EU Head of Delegation, Dominique Dellicour, in Senegal’s ‘Le Soleil’ – one of the country’s most widely read newspapers – on the future of EU cooperation. Given that good governance is a priority area for EU cooperation in Senegal, the Senegalese minister for the portfolio was guest of honour at a Europe Day reception. ‘Matador’, a famous Senegalese hip-hop artist, played at the event. The group is an urban development success story, using a community building where young people are trained in recording and graphic art.
EU Ambassador to Tanzania, Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi, organised many participatory events for ‘Europe Week’ under the theme of unleashing the potential of human, social and economic development. Eleven new EU-funded projects totalling €2.5 million were announced to support Tanzania’s non-state actors in the country’s dynamic cultural and creative industries.
Among other activities, the EU Delegation in Lesotho organised an exhibition in a shopping mall to showcase the work of EU-financed Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). Under the banner of ‘Civil Society – Our Partner’, the NGOs highlighted their work at individual stands such as the care of HIV sufferers, legal aid to women and assistance to people with disabilities.
The EU Delegation to Mauritius, Comoros and Seychelles marked ‘Europe Week’ with a conference on EU financial instruments and another on regional integration and cooperation. In Ghana, a packed agenda for ‘Europe week’ included a radio interview with EU Ambassador, Claude Maerten and a high-level seminar on ‘Promoting gender equality, the EU and Ghana working together’.
A discussion with European entrepreneurs on setting up of an association of European businesspeople was among the events organised by the Cabo Verde Delegation, whereas the EU Delegation in Gambia organised an EU film festival.
In Sierra Leone, Ambassador Jean-Pierre Reymondet-Commoy, visited ten public schools to explain the meaning of Europe Day and talk about the EU’s common values. The Delegation also organised a drawing competition for Sierra Leonean school children between 7-14 years old on ‘Sierra Leone and the EU’ and a film competition for the general public on the same theme. In neighbouring Liberia, EU Ambassador, Attilio Pacifici, symbolically dug the earth where foundations for a new EU-funded building will be laid. It will provide the National Authorising Officer, who manages donor-funded projects, with a much needed improved facility. A local contractor will carry out the building work.