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  • on 03.04.2014
  • at 02:00 PM
  • by Kevin Hind

Interview with the President of Senegal, Macky Sall: “Africans do not deserve Lampedusa” 0

“Migration flows are a challenge for Africa and the EU, but Fortress-Europe is not a solution” said the President of Senegal, Macky Sall, to Afronline.org and sahelian media partners during the EU-Africa Summit that ended today in Brussels. “To regulate migration flows, the problem must be solved at root, by offering jobs to millions of young Africans who still hope for a better life in Europe. This also applies to terrorism: we have to invest on agriculture and services to reach  inclusive growth” added the Senegalese President.

Mr President, what did you learn during this EU-Africa Summit?

It has been a precious occasion for dialogue, for both Africa and Europe, this should happen more often as the common challenges we are faced with are very complex. I am referring to the fight against terrorism, commercial exchanges and economic partnerships, we are now in  a new scenario where Africa is chased by numerous countries, not only European ones. Our continent should understand what values each partner can provide: Europe has technologic advantages whereas China can offer economic resources. On our side, we have immense opportunities for everybody, not only Europe.

Europeans cannot demand exclusive relations with Africa as our needs cannot be satisfied by Europe alone. I also want to express my appreciation for the efforts Europe is making, regardless of any issues we might have.

Migration is one of the burning issues between EU and Africa. How can Senegal, a land of emigrants, contribute to the regulation of migration flows?

To regulate migration flows, the problem must be solved at root, by offering jobs to millions of young Africans who still hope for a better life in Europe. This also applies to terrorism: we have to invest on agriculture and services to reach  inclusive growth. We do not want our people to drown in the Mediterranean sea, or to make landfall on Lampedusa, at best. They do not deserve this. Of course I understand laws are necessary and Europe cannot let its doors wide open, but it cannot be just a fortress either.

In Europe, migratory phenomena are a delicate issue that scares European governments, especially from an electoral perspective. Fortress Europe is an illusion.

The Sahel is threatened by terrorism. What are the risks for Senegal and how can it contribute to eradicate this threat?

Senegal shares borders with Mauritania and Mali. No country in this region is safe from attacks. The fight against terrorism is also exacerbated by the recruitment of young Europeans. As for the Sahel, we have to embrace three main challenges: jobs for young people, a greater cooperation in  both the  fight  against terrorism and in the information  exchange between our intelligence services.

By Joshua Massarenti (Afronline.org), in collaboration with Sud FM (Senegal), Les Echos and Réseau Jamana (Mali), Radio Anfani (Niger), Le Calame (Mauritania), Radio Horizon FM (Burkina Faso) and L’Autre Quotodien (Benin).

Translation by Evelina C. Urgolo 

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