Trust is the single most essential element to build strong partnerships capable of delivering enduring results and a sustainable future for all. Africa and Europe are bound by strong mutual ties but their ability to work together is hampered by legacy issues from the colonial past, mutual prejudices and ignorance. Greater trust between governments, businesses and individuals, both within and among our countries, is needed to deliver on the collective ambition and on the potential of our two continents.
There are three different perspectives that should be considered when talking about trust: opportunity, technology and values. In order to build trust with any government or private sector, any stakeholder, we need to meet and greet and have the face to face discussions and not just remotely. Therefore, we need to invite each other as equal partners, as a pear to pear, not as a top to down relationship. Europe needs to engage in Africa, to bring Africa as an equal partner. In turn, technology can be used as a conduct to bring people together, particularly through social media that can be used to facilitate positive vibes, to tell the stories of Africa, to tell the shared vision that of both continents, the partnerships, the commitments and finally the impact that both relationships eventually end up with; that could be communicated through technology and should be a very big part of building of trust. Regarding the third perspective – values – it’s about empathy, building sympathy for people, and in a business sense, it’s about social corporate responsibilities.
A matter of perception
A change of perception would also lead to harness the potential of the new business and the talent of the new generations. The problem in Africa nowadays is that there are many innovators, but they are not well-known. It’s necessary to change the image and the perception of what they are doing in order to attract media attention and to attract investors attention. This is one of the main obstacles to trust: a person’s state of mind, the perception in terms of visibility.
Besides the dialogue and the changing of perception, trust could be also achieved in economic relations if Europe and Africa had a balance on their economic systems, starting with the barriers that persist along the African continent in contrast with the European Union’s free trade and circulation.
However, it is a long way to achieve that. If these trade barriers within Africa would all be taken down, that would create the wealth that Africa needs to be considered as a decent partner for European investors and European players because today, in Africa, there is a big potential and the future is in Africa.
Analyzing the recent History of postcolonialism, democracies are being built, post-conflict wars are decreasing. Africa is focusing on economies now and becoming one of the largest economies empowered by women, youth and technology.