The established High-Level Group of Personalities represents the steering group of the Africa Europe Foundation, providing the political and strategic orientations for the work of the Foundation; it is composed of representatives of the founding organisations, the established High-Level Group members as well as co-chairs of the Africa Europe Strategy Groups (ex-officio) affiliated to the Foundation.
The High-Level Group of Personalities on Africa-Europe relations was originally established with the support of Friends of Europe, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and the ONE Campaign. The aim was to combine each other’s expertise and longstanding networks of high-level stakeholders from both continents to assemble an independent and balanced group of respectable top-level leaders, to informally exchange views in order to accompany and advise on the deepening partnership process.
The high-level group of personalities was set up to explore mutually beneficial ways for the two continents to work together effectively across core policy areas. The selected EU and African personalities are high-level experts and much-respected and experienced thinkers who can provide honest and direct opinions and ideas, not afraid to speak truth to power. These personalities include a balanced representation of African and European stakeholders, including representatives from the public, private and civil society sectors. Their reputation, experience and knowledge of the issues raised ensure that they receive public and media attention.
In addition to providing strategic guidance to the work of the Africa Europe Foundation, this high-level group of personalities is helping craft a new narrative for a modernised and prospect-oriented Africa-Europe relationship. Their suggestions and recommendations will not only spur debate but also ensure that state policies and actions also reflect the perspectives of an experienced group of high-level experts from both continents. Their recommendations will notably feed into the strategies of upcoming political discussions in Africa and the EU.
We see a clear and timely opportunity to complement the “official processes” between Africa and Europe – including the African Union-EU dialogue – by gathering insights on the practical follow-up, further refining and implementation of policies and actions with a focus on the mid- to long-term dimension of the Africa-Europe relationship. Informal and trusted discussions will centre on the overall challenges and opportunities in the partnership but also on specific areas which need further exploration.
The group was set up following an informal and exploratory meeting held on November 2017 in Brussels and an exchange with five European Commissioners as well as the President of the European Parliament, and was launched in October 2018. The group meets biannually on an ad-hoc basis with African and European leaders who are designing the future relationship between the two continents, with meeting locations alternating between Africa and Europe.
Founder and Chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation
President of Friends of Europe, Belgian Minister of State and former vice-president of the European Commission
Co-Founder of the ONE Campaign
Co-Founder & Director, Emprego Holdings
Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board
Chair of the Royal Africa Society, International Broadcaster and member of the advisory board of Afrobarometer
Co-Chair of the Africa Europe Foundation’s Strategy Group on Agriculture and Food Systems and Executive Chairperson of AKADEMYIA 2063
Co-Chair of the AEF Strategy Group on Health and Vice Chancellor and co-founder of the University of Global health Equity
Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA)
Co-Chair of the Africa Europe Foundation’s Strategy Group on Health and Vice-Chair of the Strategy Committee at Global Fund
Joaquim Alberto Chissano
Former president of the Republic of Mozambique and former president of the African Union
Founder of Dangote Industries and Dangote Group
Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe
Former prime minister of Ethiopia and former president of the African Union
Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and former Minister for Social Affairs of the State of Baden Württemberg
Minister of Foreign Affairs, EU and Cooperation of Spain and former Executive Director of the International Trade Centre
Co-Chair of the Africa Europe Foundation’s Strategy Group on Transport and Connectivity; Chairman of the Supervisory Board at the Elia Group; and former Chief Executive Officer of Brussels Airlines
Co-Chair of the AEF Strategy Group on Energy and former EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Chair of KR Foundation
Co-Chair of the Africa Europe Foundation’s Strategy Group on Digital and Rwandan Minister of ICT & Innovation
Former UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Honorary President of the Africa Europe Foundation, former President of the Republic of Liberia and Nobel Laureate
High Representative for the Peace Fund of the Africa Union Commission and former President of the African Development Bank
African Union High Representative for Silencing the Guns and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria
Honorary President of Notre Europe-Jacques Delors Institute and former Director-General of the World Trade Organization
Member of the Board of Trustees at the Gulbenkian Foundation, former EU Commissioner and former Portuguese Under Secretary of State
Former President of Botswana
Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group
Rector of the College of Europe and former High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security
Secretary General of Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Rwanda
Director General of the World Trade Organization
Honorary President of the Africa Europe Foundation, Chair of the Elders and former President of the Republic of Ireland
Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
Ingrid Wünning Tschol
Co-Chair of the Africa Europe Foundation’s Strategy Group on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems; and Senior Vice President Strategic Development, Robert Bosch Stiftung, Germany
Co-Chair of the Africa Europe Foundation’s Strategy Group on Energy and Member of the National Parliament, Sierra Leone; former Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Chair of UN-Energy