LISBON, July 10 (Xinhua) -- The former president of the European Commission (EC) Jose Manuel Durao Barroso declared Africa to be the future, as the 1st EurAfrican Forum opened in Estoril, near Lisbon, on Tuesday.
"Africa will be the largest market in the world and the continent with the most demographic dynamism," Durao Barroso said, in comments reported by the Lusa Portuguese News Agency.
"I believe Africa may experience extraordinary growth in the next few years," Durao Barroso added. "With increased education, infrastructure, respect for basic rules and rights, Africa will be the future," he explained.
He added that Africa's "most natural partner, perhaps because of demographics, is Europe," but cautioned that Europe had to "avoid taking a paternalistic attitude towards Africa."
The EurAfrican Forum is a one-day conference designed to encourage greater collaboration between Europe and Africa. This year's event, the first of its kind, takes the title "Crafting Coalitions for Change."
Durao Barroso is the forum's chairman and a keynote speaker. He was European Commission president from 2004 to 2014. Since leaving politics he has been non-executive president of the investment bank Goldman Sachs.