Hungary regards Africa as a continent of opportunities and the future, and will seek to build cooperation based on mutual respect and interests with the countries there, the foreign ministry’s state secretary for aiding persecuted Christians told the opening of the Hungary-Africa Week event in Budapest on Monday. “Hungary is aware of the challenges and threats facing Africa. Slow economic growth, food crisis, armed conflicts, religious persecution, natural disasters and climate change all need to be tackled as humanitarian issues,” Tristan Azbej said.
At the same time, “finding a solution for those challenges is also in Hungary’s national interest because the deepening crises could result in tens of millions of people setting off to Europe, to Hungary,” he said, adding that “the outer line of defence for Europe’s security is in Africa”. Hungary will strive to shape ties based on mutual dependency, rather than “condescending aid policy which does not contribute to lasting development”, he said. The “Hungarian model” will approach ties in foreign policy, trade, education, culture and humanitarian cooperation with the recognition that “Africa is closer than we think … and we need a safe, stable and prosperous Africa,” he said. The main aim of the Hungary Helps programme is to present developing countries with a “vision of the future” through mutually beneficial cooperation, he said. Hungary will not try to determine the solutions its African partners need, he said.
France Mutombo, the honorary consul of the Democratic Republic of Congo to Hungary and head of the organising For Africa Foundation, highlighted the importance of international cooperation, development and humanitarian work. Africa’s stability is key to that of the rest of the world and especially Europe, he said. Europe’s development will not be sustainable without a stable Africa, he said.