5th African Union-European Union Summit: Resource box
The 5th African Union-European Union (AU-EU) Summit took place in Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire, on 29-30 November 2017 under the overarching theme “Investing in Youth for a Sustainable Future”. The Summit brought together more than 80 EU and African Heads of State and Government as well as about 5,000 participants to define the future direction for cooperation between the two continents.
2017 has been a decisive year for the partnership between Europe and Africa, 10 years after the adoption of the Joint Africa-EU Strategic Partnership. In a rapidly changing global landscape, Africa is experiencing profound economic, political and societal changes, and its importance to the internal and external dimensions of Europe’s security and prosperity is becoming ever more obvious. Europe and Africa have much to gain from increased political and economic ties, but also a lot to lose if they fail to act.
The 5th Africa-EU Summit provided a critical opportunity for African and European Leaders to respond to this evolving context and reshape and deepen the Africa-EU partnership.
“As you know, the European Union is Africa’s biggest partner and closest neighbour. Its biggest investor, its biggest trading partner, its biggest provider of development aid and humanitarian assistance as well as its biggest contributor in peace and security. And this summit demonstrated our determination to reinforce our partnership even more.”
President Tusk at the press conference of the AU-EU summit, 30 November 2017
African and European leaders adopted a political declaration outlining their joint commitment to invest in youth for a sustainable future as well as commitment to focusing on common priorities for the EU-Africa partnership in four strategic areas: economic opportunities for youth, peace and security, mobility and migration, and cooperation on governance.
- Declaration: Investing in youth for accelerated inclusive growth and sustainable development, 30 November 2017
At the summit, African and EU leaders focused on investing in youth. This is a key priority for Africa and the EU as 60% of the African population is under the age of 25.
The new EU external investment plan was presented to leaders. The plan intends to trigger €44 billion investments in Africa by 2020, thereby creating new job opportunities for young people across the African continent.
EU and African leaders agreed to support the mobility of students, staff and academics across the African continent. They also agreed to enhance exchange programmes between Africa and Europe, such as ERASMUS+.
Regarding migration, leaders discussed how to tackle migrant smuggling and how to address jointly the root causes of irregular migration.
In the margins of the summit, the EU agreed to establish a joint migration task force with the African Union and the UN. This task force will aim to:
- save and protect lives of migrants and refugees, in particular in Libya
- accelerate assisted voluntary returns to countries of origin
- speed up the resettlement of those in need of international protection
Leaders agreed step up their work to enhance peace and security on both continents. In this regard, they agreed to strengthen strategic, political and operational cooperation between the African Union and European Union, in close partnership with the United Nations.
Opening session of the 5th AU-EU Summit, 29 November 2017
Joint Ministerial Meeting, 28 November 2017
In the news
The Summit comes at a crucial time in the relationship between both continents, in a world that has changed with increased challenges as well as threats affecting both partners. These common problems can only be addressed through an even closer and stronger, mutually beneficial and strategic partnership. The Summit aims at lifting this partnership to a higher strategic level, increase cooperation in the international arena guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the EU’s Global strategy.
Joint Africa-EU Strategy Infographic, updated 2017
Together with its members states the EU is the largest donor of development aid in Africa, investing EUR 20 billion every year. Additionally through the new European External Investment Plan, the EU aims at mobilising at least EUR 44 billion in private investment by 2020 and targeting this investment to the most fragile areas in support to the SDGs.
5th African Union-European Union summit: Background brief, 23 November 2017
The EU’s Key Partnership with Africa: Factsheet, November 2017
EU External Investment Plan: Factsheet, November 2017
In the run-up to the Summit a series of side events have taken place, including the 6th EU-Africa Business Forum which took place in Abidjan on 27 November and saw approximately 1,500 participants; the Africa-EU Civil Society forum in Tunis from 11-13 July; and the 4th Africa-EU Youth Summit on 9-10 October in Abidjan, which bought together 120 young leaders and presented the starting point of the Youth Plug-In Initiative which developed a series of recommendations for the leaders at the Summit.
Youth agenda of the AU-EU youth plug-in initiative, November 2017
The Abidjan Declaration: 4th Africa-Europe Youth Summit, 9-11 October 2017
Africa-EU Civil Society Forum Declaration, 12 July 2017
6th EU-Africa Business Forum (EABF)
At the 6th EU-Africa Business Forum in Abidjan, business leaders and investors from Africa and Europe confirmed their commitment to sustainable and inclusive growth and job-creation across the continent in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Forum supported the EU External Investment Plan as a key tool to promote these objectives.
6th EU-Africa Business Forum Joint Business Declaration, 27 November 2017
1st Africa-Europe Forum of Local and Regional Governments
On the eve of the 5th AU-EU Summit, 150 African and European leaders of local and regional governments gathered in the first Africa-Europe Local and Regional Government Forum in Abidjan to share their messages and bring the local government perspective on the agenda of the Summit. The Forum addressed key issues of local economic development, youth empowerment, migration, human mobility and climate action.
Declaration of the Africa-Europe Forum of Local and Regional Governments, 27 November 2017
4th Meeting of the Africa-EU Economic and Social Stakeholders’ Network
Representatives of European and African economic and social stakeholders met in Abidjan on 16-17 November 2017 at a meeting organised jointly by the Economic, Social, Environmental and Cultural Council (CESEC) of Côte d’Ivoire and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). Their declaration addressed the key issue of the contribution of economic and social stakeholders to future AU-EU relations, as well as the importance of agriculture and the agri-food sector to transform Africa, education and boosting young people’s skills, and strategies to support the development of green economies.
Historical background of the AU-EU Summit
The African Union-European Union Summit is a long term institutional framework established to discuss the future of relationships between both continents. The 5th edition of the Summit was the first to be held in sub-Saharan Africa.
First Africa-EU Summit, Cairo 2000
The first edition of the Summit was held in Cairo in 2000 where African and European leaders pledged to unite and give a new dimension to their partnership. As a result, considerable changes have taken place in both continents. Democratization and reform processes have been launched and are being deepened in both continents while efforts have continued in Africa and Europe to resolve conflicts and crisis situations. At the same time, integration processes on both continents have accelerated – on the one hand, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) has been transformed into an African Union (AU) with its socio-economic program, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and, on the other hand, the European Union (EU) has almost doubled in size and is deepening its structure. The world has also changed: new international and global challenges have emerged, globalization has accelerated and the world has become increasingly interdependent.
Second Africa-EU Summit, Lisbon, Portugal 2007
The second Africa-EU Summit in Lisbon adopted the “joint strategy” that allowed the two continents to open a new era, as equals, in their relations. It was agreed to make room for a real partnership and to face new challenges and new perspectives on a global scale. The Heads of State and Government present approved a “strategy that must be guided by the principles of Africa's unity, the interdependence of Africa and Europe, ownership and responsibility, respect for human rights and democratic principles and the rule of law, as well as the right to development”.
Third Africa-EU Summit, Libya 2010
The third summit took an inclusive approach and did not involve only the institutions. A series of side events brought together representatives of civil society, youth, the private sector, researchers and scientists from both continents. The aim was to give a new impetus to the Africa-EU Joint Strategy by placing people at the heart of the partnership and inviting all stakeholders to contribute to its implementation. It is during this third summit that the second action plan (2011-13) of the Africa-EU strategy was adopted.
Fourth Africa-EU Summit, Brussels 2014
The theme of the fourth edition of the Africa-EU summit was: “Investing in People for Prosperity and Peace”. Participants discussed key topics such as peace, security, investments, climate change and people. In the final declaration, the “willingness to hold regular political dialogue meetings at the ministerial level, especially in the margins of international events” was reaffirmed. A roadmap for the 2014-2017 period was also endorsed to define the strategic priorities and identify the means of its implementation.