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Africa: Sustainable solutions instead of aid

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Press release of MEP György Hölvényi

“In Africa, there are only two doctors and nine nurses per ten thousand inhabitants. These numbers need to be improved so that developing countries can cope with the challenges experienced during the coronavirus epidemic. The starting point is quality education and vocational training,” emphasized MEP György Hölvényi at the European Development Days starting on Tuesday. At the event, high-level participants represent 21 African countries and several EU member states, where President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen also attended.

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György Hölvényi

As the EPP Group’s Spokesman in the Development Committee, MEP György Hölvényi co-chaired the panel discussion on “Global health? Local answers: resilient health systems and medical training”. Dr Richard Hardi, mission ophthalmologist in Congo also took part in the exchange of views.

The Christian Democrat politician said in a panel discussion, “In the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen that no country is safe without trained health workers. In the sub-Saharan region, there are two doctors and nine nurses per ten thousand people. It is clear that only by investing in medical training an education can we create a resilient healthcare system that meets the challenges of the future.”

Referring to the urgent need to accelerate training of young people the MEP also pointed, “In Africa, 40 percent of the population is under 15 years old. One in five children, about 36 million, cannot go to school, and barely half of primary school teachers are trained. Despite the fact that young people are the key to boost Africa’s economic recovery. However, the continent can only make use of this resource if it is able to provide valuable knowledge to the upcoming generations, for example in the field of health. The real answer to Africa’s challenges is not migration, but promoting security, providing quality education and creating jobs.”

The MEP underlined, “The financial resources available are scarce compared to the scale of the task. That is why they need to be used in a much more targeted and effective way. Local, trusted partners have a particularly important role to play in this, such as churches and faith-based organizations, which provide 40 percent of education and health care in the sub-Saharan region. For instance, Dr Richard Hardi, the Hungarian missionary in Congo has eight million patients alone. He was also awarded the Hungarian Order of Honor for his work. Persistent professionals like him have a key network of contacts and local knowledge. The EU must seize the opportunities provided by such people.”

In his concluding remarks, the Christian Democrat politician added, “Reconstruction after the coronavirus pandemic is an opportunity to bring a real change in development policy. We need to go beyond the development policy based on a donor-recipient dynamics, which can lead to short-term success at most. Instead, cooperation based on mutual respect and responsibility that responds to local needs is necessary. This is the real, long-term, sustainable solution.”

Brussels, 21 June 2022

Further information:

György Hölvényi’s office: +32 2 284 7197

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