The European Union (EU) has engaged Teniola Akpata, a popular artist and Eniola Adeoluwa, brand influencer , as ambassadors of a campaign to promote its partnership with Africa.
The EU ambassador to Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ms Samuela Isopi, disclosed this at a briefing Thursday in Lagos.
She said the campaign tagged, ‘We See Africa,’ would strengthen the EU’s long-standing partnership with Africa to transform lives and inspire hope across the continent.
She said the campaign would run simultaneously in Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, and build on the success of a previous one conducted across seven other African countries from 2020 to 2021.
Isopi said the campaign reflected some of the initiatives that would position the two continents as model, reliable, ambitious and dynamic partners.
“It also highlights the strength of the partnership, which has brought together peoples and institutions of both continents in pursuit of common goals for a better world.
“We will work with national influencers to express our shared values and aspirations; showcase local success stories generated by our partnership; and connect with a new audience of young Africans, leveraging pop culture,” said Isopi.
She said the initiative was the biggest of its kind undertaken by the EU outside its borders.
“Africa shares a rich history with the EU, its closest neighbour. Collaborating with Africa to find solutions to common challenges is, more than ever before, a key priority for the EU.
“By strengthening their multi-dimensional cooperation and promoting sustainable development, both continents can co-exist in peace, security, democracy, prosperity, solidarity and human dignity.
“In the face of big challenges such as pandemics, security, finding green and digital solutions, climate change and migration, Africa and the EU have already proven to be more effective working together,” said the EU ambassador.
Isopi explained that within the context of the EU’s strategic partnership with Nigeria, it had provided support to the country to promote peace and security; democratic governance and rule of law; human rights, freedom and prosperity.
“Key features of EU’s cooperation with Nigeria include regular political and policy dialogues and strengthened collaboration to fight violent extremism, improve indices of human development, good governance, migration, trade and regional integration.
“The Nigeria Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP) 2021-27 launched in February provides the framework for the implementation of programmes under EU’s development cooperation with Nigeria.
“The MIP focuses on three broad priority areas, namely: green and digital economy; governance, peace and migration and human development,” said Isopi.
According to her, the overarching priority of the EU is to support better prospects for Nigeria’s predominantly young population by tackling some of the critical challenges like unemployment, criminality and violent extremism and armed conflict.
Ambassador Isopi said the EU was Nigeria’s first partner in foreign direct investments, with EU companies contributing, together with their Nigerian business partners, to the country’s economic growth, job creation and wealth generation.
She explained that together with its member states, the EU was the biggest donor of COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria, and had so far given the country 30 million doses, representing over 60 per cent of all donated vaccines received by Nigeria through the COVAX facility.
“Also addressed within the framework of the EU-Nigeria partnership are key development issues, including energy, food security, resilience, environmental sustainability and climate change, and as well, enhance regional cooperation.
“The EU alongside its member states and European development finance institutions, in July launched the 1.3 billion euros Green Economy Team Europe Initiative.”
She added that the initiative pulled together 60 projects to assist Nigeria achieve low carbon, resource efficient and climate resilient development, creating jobs for youths and economic growth, focussing on climate-smart agriculture, circular and digital economy.
“We look forward to further strengthening these relations and helping create the necessary conditions for the private sector to operate and contribute to developing the country,” she said.
One of the newly appointed ambassadors, Akpata, who combines her career in music with farming, said she was excited by the opportunity to work with the EU.
“We have had the wrong information that farmers are poor, but you can’t do anything without eating.
“We have to educate our people about agriculture. We have the capacity; the population and soil, but the thing lacking is education,” she said.
Similarly, Adeoluwa said he was grateful to be appointed EU ambassador.
He said it was important to get young people involved in developmental initiatives, using social media to change the world.
“The world is moving fast, so it is very important to educate the youth,” said Adeoluwa