The Heads of State and Government of the States members of the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) met in Brussels on 17 and 18 February 2022 for the sixth European Union-African Union Summit. The intercontinental meeting was co-chaired by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and by Macky Sall, President of Senegal and current Chairman of the African Union. The discussions focused on health, climate and security issues.
After Abidjan in 2017, Brussels hosted the leaders of the African and European continents for the sixth EU-AU summit. In an innovative format, the Heads of State participated in a thematic round table, which opened the debate and allowed for an open and dynamic exchanges. Prior to the summit, EU leaders held an informal meeting of European Council members on the latest developments regarding Russia and Ukraine. Thus, recognising the unprecedented and growing common challenges and opportunities, EU and AU leaders embrace a shared vision of a renewed partnership to build a common future, as closest partners and neighbours.
Two Unions, one vision
Both African and European leaders agreed on a common vision to consolidate a renewed partnership for solidarity
security, peace, sustainable economic development. The vision is therefore to promote common priorities, values that
share the two continents, international law and the joint preservation of common interests and public goods. It is also about human rights protection for all, gender equality and women’s empowerment in all spheres of life. Not forgetting the rule of law, action to preserve the climate, the environment, sustainable and inclusive economic growth and the fight against inequality.
A renewed partnership
This partnership addresses the immediate and long-term challenges as well as opportunities. Indeed, the EU will support the AU in local and regional procurement mechanisms, as well as in the allocation and deployment of medical products. As a result, at least 450 million doses of vaccine will be made available to African countries in coordination with the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) platform by mid-2022. 425 million to accelerate the pace of vaccination and, in coordination with CDC Africa, to support the effective distribution of doses and training of medical teams, as well as to strengthen analysis and sequencing capacities. The EU affirms its commitment to combat illicit financial flows (IFFs) and to fight against tax base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS). In addition, it is agreed to facilitate cultural exchanges and the circulation of artists and works between the two continents and to encourage a mutual commitment to the restitution of cultural property.
A prosperous and sustainable Africa and Europe
The European Union announces an investment of at least 150 billion euros in Africa. This investment will help build more diverse, inclusive, sustainable and resilient economies. It takes into account, the field of energy, transport and digital infrastructure; energy transition; green transition; digital transformation; sustainable growth; industrialisation; decent job creation and transport facilitation. To achieve the financial targets, the EU and AU will mobilise public funds to stimulate private investment by assembling innovative financing instruments. In addition, mobilisations will extend to international and national financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank as well as to public and private partnerships.
Renewed and strengthened cooperation for peace and security
Indeed, in the face of numerous security challenges, the EU and the AU announce a renewed and strengthened cooperation for peace and security. Thus, in addition to extensive logistical and military support, the EU intends to provide support for training, capacity building and adequate equipment to strengthen and intensify self-sustaining peace operations by African defence and security forces. Together with international organisations (UN, ECOWAS…), the EU and the AU will also continue to support African-led peace support operations. In this context, the two entities will intensify their cooperation on security issues, including cyber security.
A strengthened and reciprocal partnership on migration and mobility
Both organisations will continue to address all aspects of migration and mobility, while respecting national competences, in an integrated, comprehensive and balanced manner. Together with African migration institutions, the two organisations will work to prevent irregular migration, strengthen cooperation against human smuggling and trafficking, support the strengthening of border management and dialogue on migration between the two continents. On the one hand, asylum systems will be further strengthened to provide adequate reception and protection to those eligible, and on the other hand, leaders will look to address the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement.
A commitment to multilateralism
African and European leaders reiterated their commitment to work towards the promotion of effective multilateralism within the framework of the rules-based international order, centred around the United Nations. In this way, the EU and the AU will work to reduce global inequalities and to combat and mitigate climate change. Similarly, improving the provision of global public goods and strengthening solidarity will be at the heart of cooperation. Leaders also recommitted to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and the outcomes of the COPs. They recognised that Africa’s energy transition is vital for its industrialisation and to bridge the energy gap. The EU will support Africa in its transition to fair and sustainable pathways to climate neutrality. The leaders supported Africa’s hosting of COP 27 in Egypt in 2022.
Six African countries to produce their own messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines
Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia have been chosen by the World Health Organisation to produce the vaccines the continent needs. Announced on Friday 18 February by the World Health Organisation, this decision brings one more to the EU-AU summit which has already put in place huge policies for the fight against the Covid 19 pandemic. The UN agency announced that these first countries will receive the technology needed to produce these vaccines on the African continent. Moreover, this summit, beyond the standard procedures, has been very beneficial for both continents.