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5th African Union-European Union Summit: Leaders Set Path For New Partnership

 The two-day summit opened in Abidjan yesterday, November 29 with over 80 Heads of State including President Paul Biya of Cameroon participating.

If the number of participants in a meeting could be a veritable translation of the success of such a come together, then the massive attendance of the 5th African Union-European Union Summit that opened in Côte d'Ivoire's commercial city of Abidjan yesterday can be qualified as one of such. But what transpired from the deliberations that marked the opening goes just far beyond that.

The spirit of commitment that threaded through the nine speeches delivered at the ceremony was, and remain fathomless in the desire to reshape the future of relationships between Africa and Europe.

  All the orators spoke one language and orientated their ideas towards the same direction: the plight of the youth who in Africa, in particular, constitutes over 60 per cent of the population and who, in spite of their potentials, remain the highest victims of unemployment with all its consequences; threat to peace and security which is gaining alarming proportion and climate change with the controversy surrounding the implementation of decisions taken to attenuate its nefarious consequences.

How these problems have persistently occupied headline news and top agendas in several national, sub regional and international forums without finding a lasting solution is the question one could discern from the speeches delivered at the Sofitel Hotel Ivoire yesterday.

President Alassane Dramane Ouattara of Côte d'Ivoire, in his welcome address described these issues as serious challenges for both Africa and Europe. The Abidjan summit, he stated, should serve as point of departure for Africa-Europe partnership.

He particularly called on Europe to ease access for African youth in search of education because investing in youth begins with giving them ample education. The Ivorian leader like many others called for an immediate end to the inhuman treatment and selling of youth on transit to Europe in Libya. He invited the youth to believe in the future and stop risking their lives in adventures that may not produce palpable results.

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council was quick to point out that migration is a long term phenomenon and a joined responsibility which needs to be controlled and organised to avoid young people getting drown almost on a daily basis. Illegal immigration to the Chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki, is the "road to death and humiliation." The solution, he said, is to invest in the youth with focus on education, training and employment among others.

The Abidjan summit to the President of the European Union Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, is that which is rich in controversies and challenges. As a result, Europe has come to redynamise its partnership with Africa making it a win-win affair. "Africa and Europe can do a lot if they want", he concluded.

Other speakers equally hammered on the need to redefine and review the partnership between the two continents, but the whole issue hinged on the main theme of the summit, that of investing in youth as  panacea to fighting poverty and youth unemployment. The ceremony was chaired by the current President of the African Union, Guinean President, Alpha Conde.



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