On 10 January 2024, the Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network (AEFJN) met the Ghanaian Acting Head of Mission, Mr. McArios Akanbeanab Akanbong in Brussels to discuss on the pressing need for joint lobbying efforts to address critical issues affecting Africa. With a focus on food security, agricultural activities, access to water, and biodiversity, the meeting underscored the importance of collaborative action to tackle these challenges head-on.

At the forefront of the agenda was the European Union (EU) directive on agrofuels from Africa. Both parties highlighted the necessity for a fair review process that aligns with African interests. The directive, if not carefully scrutinized, could have significant implications for African economies and agricultural practices. Thus, it was imperative to ensure that African voices are heard and considered in this matter.

Diplomatic collaboration emerged as a key theme during the meeting. AEFJN emphasized its commitment to working closely with African partners (local actors in Africa), EU based institutions and other non-state actors from the EU zone, while stressing the importance of involving African ambassadors in discussions and negotiations. This collaborative approach seeks to avoid the mistakes of history, particularly referencing the 1885 Berlin Conference, and emphasizes the need for inclusive decision-making in Africa-Europe relations.

The significance of Ghana in the African context was also acknowledged. As the birthplace of African independence and unity, Ghana holds a pivotal role in the continent’s development and equality. Recognizing this, collaboration with Ghana becomes imperative for the success of shared goals between AEFJN and African nations. The meeting with Mr. Akanbong further signalled a commitment to a stronger collaboration between AEFJN and Ghana. Moreover, AEFJN presented one of its major activities in Africa namely food security operating as our land is our life (OLOL).

AEFJN recalled that in 2011, they collaborated with the Ghanaian Embassy and pushed for strategic dossier at the EU. Despite the current absence of a specific project in Ghana, AEFJN reaffirmed its unwavering presence in the country. The importance of collaboration with Ghana, a symbolic and influential actor in Africa’s socio-political landscape, was reiterated. Moving forward, both parties expressed their dedication to fostering closer ties and working together towards the advancement of African development and unity.

In conclusion, the meeting between AEFJN and the Ghanaian Acting Head of Mission served as a platform to signal the new approach to advocacy whereby whenever AEFJN takes up a dossier for instance; an Agreement signed between EU institution and an African state, when AEFJN notes that the agreement is not good for the said African state, instead of just going alone, it will be important to share the point of view with the African state in question.

This would contribute significantly towards advocacy for Africa and for the Africans. Mr. Akanbong remarked that there is a temptation or a tendency by some EU based CSOs or NGOs to act on behalf of Africa without engaging the African partners or without even knowing what is going on the ground. Hence, sharing knowledge and resources with African Ambassadors would help to change the narrative.

Both parties acknowledged that this would not be an easy task to carry out but it is not impossible.

AEFJN International Secretariat