African and European Heads of State and Government will gather for their 5th summit from November 29 to 30 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to discuss the future of AU-EU relations, as wells as investing in the youth.
Under the theme, “Investing in youth for a sustainable future,” the meeting will be attended by president of the European Council, president of the European Commission, president of the African Union and the chairperson of the African Union Commission.
According to organisers, 2017 is described as a defining year for AU-EU relations, 10 years after the adoption of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy.
Taking stock of the progress made since the Brussels Summit in 2014, African and European leaders will be given the opportunity to provide political guidance to jointly address current and future challenges and to deepen their strategic partnership, launched in 2007 with the adoption of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy.
This summit will build on a series of preparatory events aiming to bring the views of the key stakeholders of the partnership, according to a statement.
The events include Africa-EU economic and social actors forum, which concluded last week, EU-Africa business forum scheduled November 27, Africa-EU local governments forum, and parliamentary summit from November 27-28.
At the summit, the leaders will discuss the future of AU-EU relations, and focus on investing in the youth. This is a key priority for the AU and EU as 60 per cent of the African population is under the age of 25.
Other priorities to be discussed during the summit include peace and security, governance, human rights, migration and mobility investment and trade, skills development and job creation.
Speaking about the summit in Brussels, EU spokesperson Catherine Ray said invitation was sent by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission to Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, to attend the summit in Abidjan.
She said each organisation is independent in creating its respective list of participants when hosting a meeting on its territory.
While preparing for the partnership meeting, questions have been raised regarding the participation of such and such member, notably the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Ray said.
“Participating to this summit and other international events does not change the position of the EU on the non-recognition of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic,” she said.
The Kingdom of Morocco remains opposed to the recognition of Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and it has in the past declined to attend summits where the latter was present.