In February 2007, the Fondation pour l’innovation politique, in partnership with the Institut Afrique moderne and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung held a second international conference in Ouagadougou. This event was an occasion to welcome an unprecedented mix of participants: right- and left-wing politicians, political personalities and business leaders, academics, government officials, experts from the North and South, and a very active representation of the Burkinian public. During these two days of debate and proposals, the Eurafrican partnership project was reviewed in light of the results of fifty years of cooperation.The conclusions of this conference echo the warning given in Hubert Védrine’s “Report on France and Globalization” to the President of the French Republic in 2007: “Our capacity to listen is inadequate.” The discussions did, indeed, underscore the need to establish a new kind of partnership taking into account the Africa’s increasing desire to take its destiny into its own hands and to take charge of its development policy which will require the French and the Europeans to display a better aptitude for listening.
A consensus was reached: Africa’s future will depend upon its own ability to define its internal social contract and its method of relating to the outside world. This is what it will take to enable Africa to participate more fully in globalization. It is under this condition that it will be able to forge a common policy project with Europe.
Shared concerns, such as economic competitiveness, environmental protection and human capital development, provide a relevant framework for this new partnership. Migratory relations will need to be revised: the de facto closing of European borders must be brought to an end, along with its corollaries, the “brain drain” toward other continents and illegal immigration assured by organized networks. It is time to take into account the extensive human ties binding Europe and Africa, unless we want to abandon African relations to China and the United States. We must contemplate solutions such as “round trip” flows, a better-managed migratory discount and reciprocal investments. These will require not only common and structured European initiatives in Africa, but above all, true political courage.