European and African leaders come together today and tomorrow for an EU-Africa summit in Brussels with the goal of solidifying the partnership between the two neighbouring continents with a number of initiatives, agreements and investment pledges. The summit comes at a critical time for both continents and its results are crucial for future relations.
The EU seeks to increase its investment and influence in Africa, in the face of a growing Chinese presence there, and increased competition from a set of international actors such as Russia, the UK, Turkey and the United States.
In a departure from the regular summit format, leaders will convene in small roundtable groups based around themes — cybersecurity and counter-terrorism, inclusive growth, health and vaccinations, for example. Each session will be moderated by EU and African leaders, with external experts including IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva and Werner Hoyer of the European Investment Bank also participating.
The EU also seeks to create an orderly security architecture in Africa, particularly in the wake of a series of recent military coups in Western Africa and France’s decision to gradually withdraw from Mali. Migration and development are key themes likely to dominate the summit. Earlier this week, leaders of France and five Sahel countries held a two-day summit in Paris to discuss the G5-Sahel grouping's anti-insurgency operations amid mounting local dissatisfaction over the military-heavy approach that has failed to stabilise the poorly administered region.
The EU plans to unveil six initiatives at the Summit, including three investment packages, as part of what it calls a ‘Prosperous and Sustainable Partnership’. The first of these will be based around the Global Gateway initiative which promises infrastructure investment in energy, digital and environment projects.
Source: commonspace.eu with Euroactiv (Brussels), France24 (Paris) and Politico Europe (Brussels).