EU-Africa summit tackles migration, trade, peace

2014-04-01 21:16
Picture: AFP

Picture: AFP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Brussels - Conflict, illegal migration and fears of more jihadist turmoil look set to dominate a mammoth summit gathering leaders of some 80 African and European Union states in Brussels on Wednesday.

More than three years after now defunct Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi hosted the last EU-Africa summit in Tripoli - dedicated largely to his own glory - post-colonial and trade tensions, as well as worries over China's influence, are lingering.

The seizure of Gaddafi's massive stocks of arms by mercenaries after his ousting is held responsible in part for jihadist-linked unrest that since has unravelled across vast swathes of Africa, notably in Mali and Niger.

The EU has waded in to help UN and African peacekeepers restore peace there as well as in Somalia.

And ahead of Wednesday's summit, some 30 heads of state and government, 15 from each continent, will gather to discuss the dispatch of EU troops to the Central African Republic.

Some 8 000 French and African peacekeepers in CAR have been unable to restore calm as the country descends into some of the worst violence ever seen on the continent between Christian vigilantes and Muslim rebel militias.

Mark a new stage

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will attend the CAR crisis meeting starting at 10:30 GMT, before joining leaders of the 54-nation African Union and 28-member European bloc for the EU-Africa summit at 12:30 GMT, which runs to Thursday.

"I hope the summit will mark a new stage in our relationship with Africa," said EU council president Herman Van Rompuy on greeting the UN chief.

It was time for a "shift from development co-operation to a partnership of equals with trade and investment playing a key role," he added.

An overwhelming majority of leaders from both continents are attending, though a notable last-minute stay-away is Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, boycotting in protest at an EU refusal to temporarily suspend a visa ban on his wife to allow her to also come to Brussels.

The EU relaxed sanctions against Zimbabwe earlier this year but maintained a travel ban against 90-year-old Mugabe and his wife for another year while agreeing the Zimbabwe president leader could travel to international forums.

Also absent will be Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, wanted by the Internartional Criminal Court on genocide charges relating to Darfur - another irritant in Europe-Africa relations with some Africans complaining it is up to Africans to judge Africans.

An attractive bride

Trade has been another cause of tension as the two continue to struggle to agree trade deals - economic partnership agreements (EPA) - giving Africa better access to EU markets while lifting tariffs in Africa, seen as a vital source of income to governments and a protection to its fledgling industry.

Meanwhile China has increased its penetration of Africa, overtaking Europe as the main partner in 2009, while India, Brazil, Turkey and South Korea are all looking for opportunities as stability and growth improve.

"In just a few years Africa has become an attractive bride that can choose among several candidates," said analyst Geert Laporte of the European Centre for Development Policy Management.

But Europe "right now does not have a lot of sex appeal."

The EU continues to be Africa's biggest trading partner and by far its largest donor but now is looking to switch from its historic role of providing assistance to a more dynamic one of investor.

"The need for investment in Africa is so huge that the more investment coming, the better," EU development commissioner Ndris Piebalgs told AFP. "The biggest worry for me is that we would be the only investor."

Though in the last five years Africa's economy has grown faster than Asia's, the continent remains mired in poverty with millions jobless and seeking to reach Europe's shores in hopes of a better future.

Remittances, the cash sent home by migrant workers, in 2012 reached $60.4bn, becoming the continent's largest source of foreign income.

A key issue in consequence at the summit will be illegal migration as the EU offers to open its borders to legal migrants, students and business people in exchange for greater control by Africans of their own borders.

Read more on:    au  |  eu  |  belgium
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Gordons Bay - 18:30 PM
    Road name: R44 Faure Marine Drive Both Ways
    ROAD CLOSED at Suikerbossie Drive due to roadworks until 5am - traffic diverted - expect delays
  • Wednesday Kuils River - 18:01 PM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - expect delays
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Pre-order the Xbox One

Get this all-in-one entertainment system with live TV, movies, social networking and gaming. Pre-order now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Tab P7500 10.1" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 gives you a better experience for...

From R4999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Your heart is big and you are sensitive to the needs of those around you. Your humanitarian side is emphasized today and you may...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.