Reinforcing partnership links
The African Union - European Union Summit in Abidjan outlined the new priority tasks
Maria Koleva, Brussels
1 December, 2017
The fifth African Union - European Union Summit that took place in Abidjan, the main economic centre of Cote d’Ivoire, on 29-30 November, infused a new dynamic for strengthening the relationship between the two partners. A decade since the adoption of the joint Africa-EU Strategy, the focus now was on investment in youth, peace and security, migration, human rights, mobility, trade, skills and jobs.
The Union was represented by the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission, Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and EC VP Federica Mogherini, Vice President responsible for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip and Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica also took part. The African Union was represented by the President of the African Union Alpha Conde and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat.
The European and African leaders made a political declaration in which set out their joint commitment to invest in youth. Within three months, they will come up with concrete projects on mobilising investments for African structural and sustainable transformation and investing in people through education, science, technology and skills development. Strengthening resilience, peace, security and governance and managing migration and mobility are also priorities for which are planned fast track actions.
Expressing his satisfaction from the outcome of the summit, President Tusk stated that the input from African and European youth representatives brought a new energy to the discussions. As you know, the European Union is Africa’s biggest partner and closest neighbour, he said, adding that it is its biggest investor, biggest trading partner, biggest provider of development aid and humanitarian assistance, as well as its biggest contributor in peace and security. President Tusk asserted also that the summit demonstrated “our determination to reinforce our partnership even more.”
President Juncker also accented on young people, saying that, already today, the majority of African citizens are under 25 years old, and by the middle of this century, one in four people on earth will be African. But this demographic dividend cannot deliver without smart investments, he opined, adding that the EU is going to put investments in education, in infrastructure, in peace and security and in good governance. “All of which will in turn inspire good business environments and create much needed jobs and growth,” he pointed out.