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The Covid-19 pandemic poses a tremendous challenge to the world, causing grave socio-economic consequences. While the pandemic’s full impact on Africa is yet to be felt, there is no doubt about the negative impacts it would trigger. Without a swift and effective response, there is a risk that poverty increases and social indicators worsen, thus jeopardising the improvements made over the last decades.
In times of political polarisation worldwide, the Covid-19 pandemic acts as an amplifier of cleavages. We see political leaders take advantage of the situation by silencing opposition and civil society voices in order to stabilise their power. These trends nourish the phenomenon of shrinking space for civil society organisations (CSOs) and lead to democratic erosion both in the EU and in partner countries.
Therefore, in order to be a credible partner and have success in reinventing its partnership with Africa, the European Union should act now and abide by its core values, especially democracy, which is at the heart of the EU and that distinguishes our value-based approach from the ones of other actors. Only through a strong commitment to democratic values and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can the EU achieve an inclusive and fair partnership with Africa.