Just got back from Abuja, Nigeria, for my sixth trip to Africa in a year. I was at the Regional Security Forum with the Presidents of the Lake Chad area: I brought with me Europe’s contribution and support to eradicate Boko Haram’s violence, as 50 million euros have just been allocated to the Multinational Joint Task Force against the terrorist group. And beyond the fight against terror, we are working with them to promote economic development, to deal with the effects of climate change, to fight corruption, to create new job opportunities especially for young people, to invest of infrastructure, on public services, on education. Ultimately this is the real way to defeat the terrorist madness: invest in education, build up a better future, make people and communities stronger. Immunise Africa against terrorism.
This is also the best, smartest and most effective way to deal with migration. For this very reason we are financing new projects worth over 700 million euros, with the Trust Fund for Africa we launched last December. The work is in progress, and goes beyond the old logic of “aid:” we now invest as partners. We work with governments, of course, and with the international organisations, but also with local authorities and with civil society organisations.
My meeting with the #BringBackOurGirls campaign (pictured above) was the most moving moment during my trip to Nigeria. I had the opportunity to listen to the pain of the girls’ families, and to their determination to find the girls and bring them back home. But I saw an even stronger desire to provide all children of their communities, of this country and of Africa with a life made of freedom and hope. And this is our commitment, too.
Here is the video of my speech at the Regional Security Summit.