Africa does not simply want aid, it wants trade development and growth, Minister Carmelo Abela told an EU advisory body comprising representatives of workers’ and employers’ organsiations and other interest groups, during a meeting on Monday.
In a statement, the Office of the Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister said that the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) was satisfied with close communication the government had with civil society, especially during the pandemic.
During the meeting, the ministry and the EU advisory body discussed external aid, investment and trade as instruments for economic growth and to reach the 2030 United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Abela stressed that Africa wants more business-to-business contact and the sharing of skills and knowledge. He added that what the continent needed was investment in the younger African generation to equip them with skills, jobs and opportunities in their homeland.
“We should as Europeans have a positive approach and focus on partnership with Africa as equals. This is the best way to tackle the issue of migration. Civil society is an important part of this”, said Minister Abela.
According to the ministry, both parties agreed on the importance that the European continent should give to the African continent especially from a trade perspective.
Abela stressed that Malta values Africa’s potential in trade and commerce, referring to the time when he was still Foreign Affairs Minister, when Malta had launched a strategy of partnership with Africa on trade, development and diplomacy.
Minister Abela told the EU advisory body that through the work of the Department of Industrial and Employment relations, more than 25,000 employment were saved. He explained that the role of the department was to facilitate agreement between the employers and employees. Abela remarked that this yielded encouraging results.
The Tourism Ministry and the Malta Tourism Authority also had a bilateral meeting with the EESC. During the bilateral meeting, commerce and tourism in the context of a global sustainable development agenda were discussed. In addition, the meeting also focused in ways how the EU can support the African continent in order to decrease economic migrants from Africa.
During the meeting, the role and importance of EU funds to help the tourism sector was also discussed.