3 June 2020, 11:00 – 12:30hrs (CEST), online
Online Discussion: Assessing the Economic Impact of Covid-19 in Africa and on the Future of AU-EU Relations

2020 was supposed to become a milestone in the redefinition of AU-EU relations. Today, however, the Covid-19 pandemic and its repercussions dominate the discussion in Europe and Africa alike. Although the number of Covid-19 cases on the African continent is rather small, the economic consequences of the pandemic are hitting African societies just as hard as the rest of the world. African economies have come under pressure due to the slump in imports and exports and the interruption of global value chains. Moreover, the comprehensive lockdowns in many African countries present small and medium-sized companies and workers in the informal sector with major financial challenges. Early into the pandemic, the AU estimated that 20 million jobs on the continent would be at risk. According to latest estimates of UNDP, even close to half of all jobs in Africa could be lost.

Against this background, this year’s process of redefining AU-EU relations gains even more significance. The AU-EU Summit, scheduled for October 2020, will be overshadowed by the global coronavirus crisis. The ongoing U.S. withdrawal from Africa and China’s more and more assertive public diplomacy in Africa present further important factors that impact Europe’s relationship with its African partners.

How badly will Covid-19 impact economic growth on the African continent? Which policies should African governments implement to cushion the negative effects of the pandemic? What are the Africans’ expectations as to the role Europe should play in this? What – if any – are the opportunities the crisis offers to reshape African-European relations? And how will the geostrategic rivalry between the U.S. and China affect these relations?


Welcome Remarks
David Schwake, Secretary General, German Africa Foundation

Dr Carlos Lopes, High Representative of the African Union Commission Chairperson for AU-EU Relations


Dr Carlos Lopes, High Representative of the African Union Commission Chairperson for AU-EU Relations
Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, former World Bank Vice President (Region Africa)
James Shikwati, CEO of the Kenyan think tank Inter Regional Economic Network (IREN)

Sabine Odhiambo
, Deputy Secretary-General, German Africa Foundation

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