President El-Sisi Heads to Belgium Ahead of 6th European Union-African Union Summit

President El-Sisi Heads to Belgium Ahead of 6th European Union-African Union Summit (News Central TV)

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has travelled to Brussels to participate in the 6th European Union-African Union Summit slated for February 17th and 18th in the Belgian capital, the seat of the European Union.

Spokesman for the Presidency said the European Union-African Union Summit is held this year under the theme “Africa and Europe: Two Continents with a Shared Vision until 2030”.

President El-Sisi Heads to Belgium Ahead of 6th European Union-African Union Summit (News Central TV)

The EU-AU summits’ first edition was held in Cairo in 2000, and witnessed the establishment of the partnership’s mechanisms through “Cairo Action Plan”.

This is coming, two years after the EU set out modalities for a ‘strategic partnership’ with Africa, the EU-African Union summit designed to seal the deal takes place in Brussels with a series of glossy initiatives and promises expected to be unveiled.

Though draft communiques and summit deliverables are still frantically circulating between EU and African Union officials, there is an outline of a plan.

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The plan took into consideration that the European side is one of the most prominent international partners the AU is keen on enhancing relations with, particularly with regard to dossiers pertinent to development and maintaining international peace and security. This is in addition to the continuous consultations between the two sides on ways to address common challenges.

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, launched last September as the EU’s answer to China’s Belt and Road programme – which promises infrastructure investment in energy, digital and environment projects.

President El-Sisi Heads to Belgium Ahead of 6th European Union-African Union Summit (News Central TV)
President Macky Sall of Senegal

“At the summit, investments will be at the heart of the discussions because they are the means of our shared ambition,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in Senegal’s capital Dakar on Thursday, after announcing that the Global Gateway would include an investment plan worth more than €150 billion for Africa.

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The programme promises to establish an EU investment program in each African country but will not be backed by any new financing commitment by Brussels.

During the EU-AU summit, heads of government from the continent are expected to focus on various issues of interest to African countries, notably with regard to strengthening international efforts to facilitate their integration into the global economy.

President El-Sisi Heads to Belgium Ahead of 6th European Union-African Union Summit (News Central TV)
Rwandan President Paul Kagame

At the summit, the two sides are due to agree the text on an Africa-Europe Security and Stability architecture, a joint commitment to strengthen African capacities and support African peace operations. However, this is primarily about restating existing defence and security efforts.

Trust has been badly damaged during the COVID pandemic, with widely held African complaints about the EU’s vaccine hoarding compounded by the travel bans imposed on southern African states following the discovery in November of the Omicron variant.

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has accused the EU of ‘vaccine apartheid’, much to the bloc’s discomfort, may not be at the Summit. However, Presidents Macky Sall of Senegal, Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda, and Ghana are scheduled to participate at the joint Union Summit in person.


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