The European Investment Bank (EIB) partnered with citizen-engagement platforms Debating Africa and Debating Europe on a focus group project where they asked 100 young people between 18 and 35 years of age about their concerns around some of the major challenges facing the world today.
The focus group found that young people from both Africa and Europe are very concerned about the future in a world threatened by climate change, according to the ‘Securing our Future: 100 African & European Voices on Climate Change, Conflict, and Security’ report.
The report highlighted that every single European and most African participants cited the issue as a major concern while those from Africa who did not, often raised other threats that they perceived as driven by climate change, such as food insecurity, severe weather events, and adverse economic conditions.
Participants from both continents were also keenly aware of the interlinkages between climate change and other threats such as migration, resource scarcity, and violent conflicts.
The focus groups also explored the role of international institutions and how they should respond to the climate emergency as both African and European young people felt there should be more funding for alternative sources of energy, particularly renewables.
Additionally, Europeans wanted to see countries end the use of gas, oil, coal, and any subsidies these sources of energy received.
However, Africans wanted climate change interventions to focus less on the global threat and more on the current impact on Africa, notably the effects on food and energy security.
The focus group’s European participants came from Germany, Italy, France, Greece, Slovakia, Portugal, Spain, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Ireland, Estonia, Slovenia, Latvia, Belgium, and Finland. Meanwhile, the English-speaking African participants came from Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, and Malawi. Finally, the French-speaking African participants came from Cameroon, Chad, Benin, Senegal, Algeria, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Tunisia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Mali.
Debating Europe was launched in 2011 and has taken a bottom-up approach from the beginning, with citizens very much in the driving seat of the debate, asking the questions they want answered and putting forward their opinions for politicians and thought-leaders from across the EU and beyond to react to.
Since its launch, Debating Europe has interviewed more than 3,000 policymakers and experts from across the political spectrum, all of which have agreed to answer some of the 200,000 comments sent from citizens online, including from over 271,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter.
In 2021, Debating Africa was launched, adopting the same approach and encouraging a pan-African debate on shared challenges such as climate change, security, trade, and development.
As international challenges require international dialogue, Debating Europe and Debating Africa frequently co-operate on joint projects to bring voices from both continents to the table with politicians and experts.
Debating Europe is an initiative of Friends of Europe — the Brussels-based think tank for a more sustainable, inclusive, and forward-looking Europe.
Debating Africa’s work is rooted within the Africa-Europe Foundation — which was established by Friends of Europe, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, in partnership with the African Climate Foundation and ONE Campaign to empower a narrative shift in the relations between Africa and Europe.