MADRID – President Pedro Sanchez embarked on a mini tour of Africa following the Focus Africa 2023 plan. Sanchez visited Angola and Senegal. Both these countries are seen as central to helping with the migrant crisis as well as strengthening commercial relations.
This followed a presentation in Madrid of the document of good intentions – Focus Africa 2023. Among other aims, the plans resulting from this document include the following;
- peace, security and prosperity
- inclusive and resilient economic collaboration
- management of the migration crisis
- climate change
- gender equality
- sustainable development.
A group of key officials from Spanish businesses accompanied Sanchez on his tour. Their first stop was in Angola at the Spain/Angola Business Forum. Here, Sanchez was welcomed by The President of Angola, Joao Loureno.
As reported by La Moncloa, following the business forum, Pedro Sánchez held a meeting with the Angolan President. Here they signed an Air Transport Agreement and three new Memoranda of Understanding to strengthen cooperation on agriculture, fisheries and industry.
They also agreed to the creation of an Observatory for Spanish-Angolan investments. Furthermore, a joint statement was made, expressing their interest in developing ongoing dialogue and their wish to step up ties between Angola and Spain.
“This will be Spain’s decade in Africa”, says Pedro Sanchez
Following his visit to Angola, Sanchez continued to Dakar, where he met with the President of Senegal, Macky Sall. They addressed many issues including cooperation on defence and security, collaboration on migration and the situation in the Sahel.
Sanchez wrapped up his tour in Senegal on Friday by visiting a military base for Spanish and other international forces fighting extremism in the Sahel region. He also visited a new centre in Dakar that will host the first Cervantes Institute in sub-Saharan Africa for studies of the Spanish language and culture.
“I am very proud to see the growing interest that our language is arousing in Africa. Spanish is increasingly thriving and is one of our most valuable assets around the world”, stated Pedro Sánchez. In fact, more than 200,000 people in Senegal are currently studying Spanish.
Senegalese residents in Spain
According to La Moncloa, Sanchez highlighted “Spain is committed to the continuity and the strengthening of bilateral relations on the issue of migration”. In this regard, Pedro Sánchez stated that Senegal is a “key partner” in managing the Atlantic route and recalled that “Senegalese residents in Spain are the main colony of Sub-Saharan Africans, with more than 71,000 residents on the census”.
A joint declaration containing their interest in collaborating to the benefit of the socio-economic development of both countries was issued.
Effective migration system
Spain and Senegal also signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) to step up and diversify cooperation on migration, with the aim of designing an effective circular migration system between the two countries. One of the MOUs also sets out a framework for institutional cooperation for the more effective management of migratory flows, focusing on the most vulnerable groups. These are women, children, and people with disabilities.
Sanchez stressed that both he and Sall agreed on the importance of ‘conveying a strong message to the mafias’ behind human trafficking and, according to SpainEnglish, he said that ‘when we talk about people who arrive, we often forget those who cannot arrive because they die in the sea’.