Moussa Sow: "The most important thing in Africa is to take care of young people".

President Macky Sall's youth leader travels to Europe to exchange views with his counterparts in the European Union.
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GUILLERMO LÓPEZ/ATALAYAR  -   Moussa Sow

Moussa Sow is the president of the "Convergence des Jeunes Républicains" (COJER), the youth organisation affiliated to the Alliance for the Republic, the party in power since 2012 in Senegal. As Mr. Sow explains, COJER is "the youth that accompanies President Macky Sall".

Steeped in liberal ideas, this young politician is particularly concerned about the youth of Senegal and West Africa. In October 2021, he was part of a delegation of African politicians who visited the European Union institutions in Brussels and Madrid, guided by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. The aim of this trip was clear: to strengthen relations between liberals and create exchanges between Africa and Europe. 

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What ideas and principles do you keep from those days in Europe with your liberal colleagues, not only African but also German? 

First of all, I would like to thank you, and also President Macky Sall, who has allowed me to be here in Europe, to participate in this trip. To take part in this mission, which consists of dialogue and discussion with the Europeans in the framework of cooperation between Senegal, or between West Africa, more globally, and the European Union.  When we came to Belgium, to Brussels, we really enjoyed talking and discussing with the European authorities in the Parliament, but also with the young people in Belgium.  We learned a lot, but they also learned a lot from us at their level, because it was an exchange. It was a fruitful exchange with the idea of strengthening the neighbourhood that exists between West Africa and Europe, despite the distance. Because in most of the countries where we are, for example here in Spain, we are only separated by the Atlantic. So we are neighbours, so we have always wanted to have a fruitful cooperation between Africa, and in particular West Africa, and European countries.  

I am going to talk more specifically about Senegal because I am from Senegal. I am the national leader of the young people accompanying President Macky. Let me congratulate the President of the Republic because since he arrived in 2012, he has not stopped helping, supporting and assisting the youth. He has put in place many structures to help young people to find work, to find employment, because that is what it is all about today. This youth, which is the most important group in Africa and in Senegal, must be active and busy so that we can develop the country, because it is a positive energy, and it is important to take care of this age group which is the most important in Senegal and in West Africa. 
 

In relation to the exchanges and dialogue you have had here, have you had any ideas and thought of ways to create links to help young people in Senegal? 

Regarding this question, I must first of all thank the Friedrich Naumman Foundation, which helped us to make this trip possible. The Foundation allowed us to have this "link", this connection between the places we came from and Europe. Obviously, we met with the authorities responsible for certain ministries and organisations, and from there the connection was established. The link was established and we liked what they presented to us. In turn, we also introduced them to the developments we have in Africa. But also from this moment on, we will look at the contact. So that we can work together and try to really develop the projects that we have found at home, but also to have this open mind to invent or find solutions for our young people through digital technology, for example. We also talked about this persistent issue, which is illegal immigration. We know that Spain receives many young Senegalese. We thought it was necessary to get in direct contact with these authorities, who receive young people, who guide them and who really form this cooperation between Africa and Spain. 

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I think you have talked about the possibility of extending Erasmus exchanges to Africa, to your countries. What do you think about this future possibility?

This would be a good thing. We discussed it and I think we understood that we have to strengthen this cooperation and that we have to find a new way of doing things so that we can really have a better connection between us and the authorities.  

In any case, it was a benefit, a success not only for us coming from Africa, but also for our counterparts. As I was saying, the connection has been established, and we will keep in touch to create new tools and international cooperation between the authorities that will be really beneficial for young people. In particular, apart from the Erasmus programme, we have had ideas such as the creation of training courses in the countries of origin, so that immigrants can adapt to the jobs that can await them in Europe, but this is still only an idea, nothing is yet formal. What is sure and certain is that this experience hand in hand with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation has helped us a lot to establish the necessary connections with our liberal colleagues to work in the future for the good of our citizens and our youth.