Launching the Africa-Europe Youth Academy at the Global Gateway Event in Brussels

On the 11th of April, the EU held a conference on the education aspect of the Global Gateway strategy: a new European strategy to boost smart, clean and secure links in digital, energy and transport sectors whilst strengthening health, education and research systems across the world. During the event, there was ample visibility for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, amongst others during the launch of the Africa-Europe Youth Academy. 

launch of the Africa-Europe Youth Academy
‘Red button moment’ during the launch of the Africa-Europe Youth Academy

Launch of the Africa-Europe Youth Academy

The Africa-Europe Youth Academy is a new European collaboration with Dutch, Italian and French partners that provides opportunities for formal and informal learning to young people. Especially, skills relating to leadership and intercultural networking between Africa and Europe are promoted through the initiative. Essentially, the academy aims to foster strong relationships between African and European youth and organizations by exchanging expertise and resources.

The initiative will function as an umbrella for youth leadership development opportunities across Africa and Europe. The new program plans to increase opportunities for young people in their diversity to act as leaders for sustainable development at social, economic, cultural and political level. Additionally, the Africa-Europe youth Academy aims to improve quality and accessibility of youth leadership actions in Africa and between Africa and Europe.

The official launch of the academy happened during the Global Gateway event, but shaping the actual on-the-ground activities after the launch can the leading organizations start exploring  expects to have the first programs up and running towards the end of the year.

Signing moment for the launch of the Africa-Europe Youth Academy
Signing moment for the launch of the Africa-Europe Youth Academy

Global gateway and Youth at Heart

Besides the launch, the Global Gateway event was an important predecessor to the Summit of the Future, which will take place in August 2024 in New York. The panels of the event reflected this, touching on a myriad of topics. Some of the most prominent topics were the digital and green transition, or rather what type of education is needed to achieve a successful transition. Relating to this, the delegation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands participated in two different panels during the event.

The green transition, greening education, and green skills

The Ambassador for Youth, Education and Work participated in the panel discussion on the green transition, greening education, and green skills. The panel emphasized that investments in quality learning is the best long-term strategy for the green transition and to achieve a sustainable future. Only by investing in quality learning, it can be ensured that green competences are available for all learners at all levels of the education system, leaving no-one behind.

An important contribution by the Ambassador was the emphasis on the relation between the green transition and food security, indicating that green education and green skills can benefit the food security debate greatly. The Netherlands has a long-standing engagement with Africa in terms of international cooperation in the realms of education, climate resilience, food security and more. From this experience, it became evident that locally-led innovation for tailored solution is better promoted when linking climate with food security in the realm of education.

The Ambassador for Youth, Education and Work speaking during the Green Transition panel
The Ambassador for Youth, Education and Work speaking during the Green Transition panel

TVET and higher education

Additionally, the Netherlands was represented in the panel on TVET and Higher Education through NUFFIC; a Dutch organization who helps building a peaceful and prosperous society for everyone. They do so on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Commission.

The overall stance of the panel echoed the Youth At Heart approach: make sure young people get the education that will actually get them to work, putting effort into connecting education to the labor market. Especially TVET was considered a priority by the representative of African Union participating in the panel, identifying it as essential training for the growth of economies.