The various engagements taken in Abidjan by African and European leaders is now the pathway for African youth.
Even though leaders from the 55 African Union and 28 European Union Member States met in their 5th AU-EU Summit in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, with the overarching theme on youth, the dramatic situation of migrants and refugees victims of criminal networks, in particular inside Libya, inevitably occupied central position.
This, however, did not completely derail summit participants who, in effect, worked under the guidance of the main theme of the summit, "Investing in youth for a sustainable future."
Together they adopted a joint declaration outlining 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.
In this light, in their political declaration, the European and African leaders set out their joint commitment to invest in youth for a sustainable future. Concretely, they committed to focus their work on the four strategic priorities putting forward concrete projects and programmes within three months.
The Abidjan summit which stretched from November 29 through 30, 2017, witnessed the participation of over 80 leaders from the African Union and European Union including leaders of other international organisations as well as the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres.
The African Union was represented by the President of the African Union, Alpha Condé, President of the Republic of Guinea and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Chadian diplomat, Moussa Faki Mahamat while the EU was represented by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker and the President of the Council of the EU, Donald Tusk.
As indicated by President Juncker, it was all an affair of young people. "Today, the majority of African citizens are under 25 years old, and by the middle of this century, one in four people on earth will be African. This demographic dividend cannot deliver without smart investments.
This is precisely why we are going to put our investments in education, in infrastructure, in peace and security, as well as in good governance – all of which will in turn inspire good business environments and create much needed jobs and growth.
In order to jointly address the dramatic situation of migrants and refugees victims of criminal networks, in particular inside Libya, Representatives of the African Union, European Union and the United Nations agreed to set up a joint AU-EU-UN Task Force to save and protect lives of migrants and refugees along the routes and in particular inside Libya.
The three organisations will equally accelerate the assisted voluntary returns to countries of origin, and the resettlement of those in need of international protection.
This action will build on, expand and accelerate the ongoing work done by countries of origin, and the IOM, with EU funding, which allowed so far the voluntary return to their countries of origin of 13 000 migrants since January.
Furthermore, efforts will be intensified to enhance intra-African mobility and the free movement of persons within Africa.