Government Communication Unit, 02 April 2014
Brussels, 2 April 2014 – Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas said at today’s European Union-Africa Summit in Brussels that the two continents have a lot in common and the key issue is more effective cooperation between the African countries and the European Union.
According to Rõivas, the prerequisites for a better future on the African continent are peace and security. The Prime Minister said that Estonia is ready to take greater international responsibility in order to contribute more to ensure stability in Africa.
“Estonia has decided to participate in the European Union military operation in the Central African Republic,” the head of the Estonian Government confirmed at the gathering of the leaders from the African countries and the European Union.
Rõivas noted that non-governmental organisations from Estonia are also operating in the African countries in increasingly diverse areas. He acknowledged the citizens’ initiatives that have a great impact on the society. The Prime Minister brought the garbage clean-up campaign “Teeme Ära!” as an example: it spread all over the world, including in several African countries.
“This project is important in many ways,” Taavi Rõivas said. “Firstly, it teaches one to take care of nature and protect it. Secondly, it helps to promote the movement of the citizens. And thirdly, this initiative makes effective use of the latest technology.”
Rõivas said that the latest technology is an area, where Estonia may share its knowledge. He stressed Estonia’s readiness to help the African countries in building up an e-governance system and expressed the belief that there is great potential in the cooperation in the field of information technology with the African countries.
“Based on Estonia’s experience in developing e-governance, we are ready to cooperate with the African countries in finding appropriate IT-solutions for them,” Rõivas said. “By virtue of comprehensive implementation of information and communications technology, Estonia has achieved a lot. The platform that enables to organise secure web-based exchange of data between national information systems can also be successfully introduced in the African countries.”
Rõivas added that the so-called smart economy, based on information and communications technology, is more efficient and as a result, also the services provided by the government will become quicker, more high-quality, and less costly.
“Modern technology saves resources and encourages the citizens to participate in the decision-making process,” Rõivas noted.
The heads of state and government of the European Union and the African countries, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, and the leaders of the African Union are participating in the two-day European Union-Africa Summit. Special guests also include the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the leaders of several international financial institutions.
This is the fourth Summit of the European Union and Africa. At the meeting, the current situation and future of the European and African countries are under discussion while focusing on the security situation in Africa and the European Union’s contribution to its advancement, economic development, and trade relations.
Before the European Union-Africa Summit began, a separate meeting took place in a smaller composition in order to discuss the crisis in the Central African Republic. Participants stressed the need to find a solution to the crisis in a coordinated manner.
Photos from the meeting – http://valitsus.ee/et/uudised/...
Prime Minister Rõivas: Estonia is ready to contribute more in order to ensure stability in Africa