Speaking at the African Union-EU Summit in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) said that sectors of the economy that interest young people must be invested in.
"Our young people deserve to be supported by their governments in increasing their quality of life," a government press release quoted Ratas as saying in his opening speech at the meeting of European and African heads of government on ways to create economic opportunities for young people.
"It is essential to support investments in digital economy and other sectors of the economy which interest young people and ensure employment for them," he continued. "Entrepreneurship — especially small and medium-sized enterprises — offers the most opportunities for this. We must find ways to support their creation both in Africa and Europe."
Digital economy provides new prospects for economic growth, Ratas explained. "If young people see opportunities in their home country for development, participation in society, career, and safely starting a family, they are less likely to search for a better life in Europe," he noted, adding that investments should begin from as early as primary school, where boys and girls must have equal opportunities to receive an education.
According to the Estonian prime minister, Africa is increasingly contributing to economic growth and innovation, but this will lead to results only if there is peace and stability as well.
"Africa is a very important neighbor for Europe," Ratas said. "Everything that happens in Africa affects Europe, and vice versa. The plan of the African Union to silence the guns in Africa by 2020 is certainly a step toward peace, stability and reconciliation."
Ratas believes that the fifth African Union and European Union Summit, which began on Thursday, will provide a valuable opportunity for renewing and strengthening cooperation between the two neighboring continents. Participants of the summit include 83 heads of state from Europe and Africa, representatives of the institutions of the EU and AU, as well as nonprofit associations and entrepreneurs.
According to the prime minister, the most complicated negotiations on migration and security still lay ahead. "On the one hand, we must stop illegal immigration to Europe and send those who have entered Europe illegally back home safely," he said. "On the other, we must establish legal migration routes and enable entrance to those who need protection. Europe should not turn away anyone who needs help, but we can only solve this situation with the help of the countries from which people are currently emigrating."
During the summit, Ratas will meet with several African leaders, including the leaders of Seychelles, Algeria, Mauritius, Niger, the Republic of South Africa, and Zambia.
Editor: Aili Vahtla