Press Releases Statement by President von der Leyen following her meeting with President Macky Sall

Statement by President von der Leyen following her meeting with President Macky Sall

Thank you very much, Mr President, dear Macky,

Thank you for your warm welcome. But first of all, congratulations to Senegal for your great victory at the Africa Cup of Nations. I had the opportunity to hold the trophy in my hands. It is impressive and a historic achievement. And I am very pleased to be here, at this exceptional time, with my Vice‑President and the Commissioners. We are delighted to be here now in Senegal.

The European Union and Senegal have strong ties. And my visit here gives me the opportunity to express just how important I think this partnership is. Yesterday I visited the Pasteur Institute in Dakar, a champion, a real champion, a shining example of Senegalese excellence – I was impressed to see the rapid progress that is being made with the MADIBA project – and a place where Africa’s pharmaceutical independence is taking shape, in cooperation with Europe. When it comes to health, Senegal is a real driving force for the African continent. And you have the potential to be a driving force in other fields too: let me pay tribute here to your country’s digital and industrial ambition, with the Plan Sénégal Émergent, and your commitment to entrepreneurs, with the Startup Act. Yesterday I had the chance to speak to young entrepreneurs and I was fascinated by their motivation and their spirit. That is the future and it was really impressive. Mr President, you are leading the way and Team Europe is proud to be your partner and to support your efforts.

Your country has also just taken over the Chair of the African Union and we have therefore been preparing together the EU-African Union summit to be held in Brussels next week. Our two Unions share the same vision: to create a common area of stability and prosperity. At this summit we shall have to work out practical ways of achieving that goal. And your leadership, dear Macky, President Sall, will play a key role.

Investments will be the main topic of discussion at the summit, because they are how we implement our shared ambition. Europe is Africa’s most reliable and by far its most important investment partner. Team Europe invests EUR 20 billion in subsidies in Africa every year, to which should be added loans, of course, which attract public and private investment.

Of course we also spoke together about the Global Gateway, our global investment strategy, based on values which both Europe and Africa hold dear, like transparency, sustainability, good governance and concern for the welfare of our populations. Global Gateway is about investing in infrastructure – strategic infrastructure, industrial infrastructure, health infrastructure, and the infrastructure of youth and education, which is so important.

Today, I am proud to announce more than EUR 150 billion via the Africa-Europe programme. This is the first regional plan under Global Gateway, two months after the launch of the strategy. It will be led by Team Europe and implemented in partnership with you.

It goes without saying that, to achieve all this, we need the private sector, its expertise and investment capacity. We also need political commitment at the very highest level to bring these projects to fruition, and I am very pleased to report that that is what I have found today. Above all, we need the people’s support, whether individual citizens, local authorities or parliaments. Global Gateway will involve everyone, as its objectives are to promote growth and confidence

Thank you.

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