Professor Jākobsone Bellomi Participates in International Forum on Latvia and African Countries

JCU Professor Ieva Jākobsone Bellomi participated in an international forum called “Latvia and African Countries: Partners for Peace and Stability,” organized by and held at the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Riga, on June 3 and 4, 2024. The event was organized in the scope of Latvia’s candidacy for the 2026-2027 UN Security Council, highlighting the importance of the North-South connection in economic and business cooperation and building unity across the African continent and Europe in the current geopolitical climate. The forum welcomed more than 100 participants, including state representatives and non-state actors, entrepreneurs, and guests from 18 African countries.

The “Latvia and African Countries: Partners for Peace and Stability” international forum
The “Latvia and African Countries: Partners for Peace and Stability” international forum

Baiba Braže, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia and former  NATO Assistant Secretary-General for Public Diplomacy, emphasized that “strengthening cooperation with Africa is one of the EU’s foreign policy priorities, because Africa’s security and economic challenges directly affect the EU: Russia’s war in Ukraine, the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and others have had a negative impact both on the EU and Africa, respectively, we need to improve bilateral political and economic cooperation, develop crisis response mechanisms and strengthen mutual supply chains.”

The representatives of African countries were also introduced to “She Rebuilds the World,” an economic empowerment project for women headed by Professor Jākobsone Bellomi. The project has received the third round (2024/2025) of financing from the Latvian government and will be launched in Ethiopia and Rwanda, and continue in Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In the first two rounds of the project, more than 1000 African female entrepreneurs and future leaders were introduced to entrepreneurship, digital and financial literacy, and women’s leadership. In the next year, the project aims to involve more EU institutions and universities in a common effort to upskill the workforce and entrepreneurs across the African Continental Free Trade area countries.      

The international forum proceeded with analytical discussions and presentations on the growing international role of African countries, with the participation of representatives from the European External Action Service (EEAS), the Institute for Security Studies think tank (ISS), and the International Crisis Group (ICG). Despite the fact that 12 of the 20 fastest-growing economies in the world are in Africa, the discussion concluded that the continent is currently not proportionately represented in the international system. Emphasizing the need to ensure equal and fair geographical representation, Latvia stands for the reform of the UN Security Council, providing additional seats for African countries as well. Professor Jākobsone Bellomi also contributed to the report “Latvia and African Countries: At the Beginning of a New Road” by the Center for Geopolitical Studies of Latvia.

In the scope of the forum, Professor Jākobsone Bellomi and representatives of Latvian institutions and enterprises met with Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, to discuss Latvian involvement in the EU initiative “Global Gateway” to connect Latvia and EU countries with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and Middle Eastern and African countries.