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AU-EU Summit must not be a mere talk shop

BY: Daily Graphic
The fifth African Union-European Union (AU-EU) Summit is taking place in Abidjan
The fifth African Union-European Union (AU-EU) Summit is taking place in Abidjan

The fifth African Union-European Union (AU-EU) Summit is taking place in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

The two-day summit, which began yesterday, is very important to the two continents because this year marks the 10th anniversary since the adoption of the joint AU-EU Strategy, making this year a defining one for AU-EU relations.

The summit is providing an important platform and opportunity for strengthening political and economic ties between the two continents. If, for nothing at all, it offers African countries the opportunity to lay bare issues of concern to them in their relations with Europe under one platform.

African and EU leaders are discussing the future of their relations, with focus on investing in the youth of the two continents, on the theme: “Investing in youth for a sustainable future”.

The theme is of great significance and a priority for Africa and the EU, as 60 per cent of the African population is under the age of 25. More significantly, the summit is taking place at a time when the issue of illegal migration of African youth to Europe is at its peak, with many being maltreated and dying in European countries.

The summit of Heads of State and Government takes place traditionally every three years, alternating between Africa and Europe, to take stock of the progress made in the implementation of commitments and provide political guidance for further work.

The roll call in Cote d’Ivoire includes African and European Heads of State and Government, the President of the AU, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission.

The EU is Africa’s main partner and they are working together to tackle the common challenges of today — from investing in the youth, fostering sustainable development and strengthening peace and security to boosting investment in Africa, good governance and better management of migration.

For Ghana, the AU-EU Summit means so much more, as a number of the heads of state attending the summit will pay official visits to the country for bilateral talks.

So far, relations between most of Africa and Europe have been dependent on aid. With the determination of President Akufo-Addo to move Ghana beyond aid, the Daily Graphic is hopeful that the President and state officials who will be involved in talks with the visiting European Heads of State and their delegations will drive this desire to Europe and take concrete steps to ensure that Ghana will effectively shift more to trade and investment.

As the leaders confer in Cote d’Ivoire, we are confident that they will also discuss issues relating to education, the environment, health, food, African economies, illegal migration, terrorism, human and drug trafficking and how best the youth of the two continents can bring some practicality to these issues.

At the end of the visits, we expect that the summit will leave indelible historical landmarks that will give a positive definition to the youth and bring total development to Africa and not just be a mere case of a talk shop, as many past summits have been.

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