5th AU-EU Summit: Abidjan Set for Tomorrow’s Opening

African and European Heads of State and Government converge on the Sofitel Hotel Ivoire; investing in youth tops agenda.

All roads in Africa and Europe will lead to the Ivorian commercial city of Abidjan tomorrow where Heads of State and Governments of African Union and European Union countries begin meeting to build a sustainable future by investing in their youthful population.

This particular summit is key especially to Africa with its galloping 60 per cent population comprised of people still to hit 25. All that it takes to organise a summit of this magnitude have been put in place.

Decided upon during the African Union summit of July, 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda, the 5th African Union – Europe Union Summit is expected to serve as a platform for dialogue between African and European nations with the aim of fostering strong relations between them. It is the third of its kind to be held on the African continent and the first to be held in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In addition to the main theme, « Investing in youth for a sustainable future », the Abidjan summit will equally focus on the challenges that affect both continents, such as peace and security, and on their common interests, notably sustainable and inclusive development that creates youth employment opportunities, investment and trade, skills development and governance including democracy, human rights, migration and mobility.

Approximately 5,302 participants are slated to attend this meeting, 83 of which are Heads of State representing 55 African countries and 28 European nations, delegations from various partner countries, the African Union Commission, the European Union Commission, international organisations, and regional as well as sub regional organisations.

Youth Expectation.

Investing in youth is a prerequisite for building a sustainable future. Representatives of the youth organisations from Africa, Europe, and the Diaspora who met in Abidjan for the 4th Africa-Europe Youth Summit in October to lay the groundwork for tomorrow’s summit made this clear in what they described as the Abidjan Declaration.

According to the statement, the African and European continents are compelled to collectively work together in order to overcome the issues preventing progress within their interconnected societies. This they said,  requires support to and the advancement of education, skills development, mobility and access to markets, youth participation and young people’s access to rights.

To better support investing in youth for a sustainable future, the youth in their declaration made a number of general and theme-specific recommendations among which are: building on their commitment to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development where AU and EU governments must work together towards sustainable development as the overarching objective of national policies;

implementing a cross-sector and participatory approach to youth policy, ensuring structures for effective coordination and mainstreaming of youth in all policies, and creation of, or support to, existing mechanisms that guarantee extended and improved youth participation in policy-making processes.

The youth will be actively present at the summit with high expectations that their plea catches the attention of decision makers.

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