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The way forward after a disappointing AU-EU Summit

At their 9th meeting on 28 April 2022, African and European members alike expressed concern that, despite progress compared to the Abidjan Summit, a real game change in the management of the interdependency has not been achieved. A fair and equitable partnership between AU and EU is still far away, and so are the mutual benefits for their respective economies and societies.

The responsibility for this state of affairs is shared, but the EU bears a heavier one, not least because of the continuation of post-colonial conditions, reinforced by certain policies. There is no significant effort for renewed mutual understanding or trust and cooperation building at all levels. Economic and social actors do not receive a strong stimulus or better framework conditions. There is too much attention for the militarization of security situation and too little for remedying its sources which are poverty and inequality.

A strategic plan to focus on regenerative agriculture to deal with the food security, on research and join technology development of clean energies to combat the consequences of climate change, on structural transformation in manufacturing and services to create much needed jobs, to name but a few pressing issues, do not appear on the horizon.

Not even an intention appears in the Summit conclusions, despite the calls of numerous experts in both continents. European officials and politicians still seem to be looking at Africa primarily as a source of raw materials. However, it would be of great to interest EU businesses and governments to invest in the African tech innovations (like Silicon Valley companies are doing).

In these circumstances, HLG recommends both AU and EU Commission to be more innovative. A start could be made by developing better consultation with civic society, academia and business, which are all much closer to day-to-day realities.


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