Europe and Africa should deal with each other as equal strategic partners, and the latter should not be treated as a junior and dependent partner.
This is the message that President Jacob Zuma will deliver at the African Union European Union summit which is set to get under way in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Among others, Zuma will also focus on the SA-EU strategic partnership, which is commemorating its 10th anniversary this year.
A document seen by City Press shows that during Zuma’s address, he will stress that “the model of engagement between Europe and Africa has to change from that of Africa as a dependent junior partner to that of an equal strategic partnership”.
It also emphasises that the EU should involve the African continent on all matters that involve Africa, such as migration, peace and security and youth development.
A senior government official who is part of Zuma’s delegation said the president would also “speak strongly on the issues of slavery in Africa. He would suggest that the Libyan government should be supported in addressing the issue, and condemn those who are engaged in modern-day slavery”.
This morning Zuma had a bilateral meeting with Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, and lobbied him for South Africa to be considered as a non-permanent member of the United Nation’s Security Council next year. “He also raised the issue of slavery in Libya.”
Zuma, said the official, will also meet up with Estonia’s Prime Minister Juri Ratas, who is also president of the council of the European Union, to make a case for Pretoria to be offered a non-permanent seat on the security council next year.
“But the ultimate goal is to have a permanent seat on the security council,” he said, adding that Zuma will also meet up with the president of the Comoros, Azali Assoumani, who has requested a “bilateral with him”.
“There are political problems there. I suspect their president there wishes to brief President Zuma about them. We have been supporting them to resolve the political issues there for years. We will obviously also lobby them, for the UN security council seat,” he said.
‘More investment please’
Oxfam, which is also attending the summit, called for the EU to ensure that its investments effectively support those most in need.
“Africa needs good investments, however, the EU’s external investments plan, which aims to support private investment with development money is lacking in important safeguards that ensure that European aid and investment effectively supports those most in need.”
In a statement, the organisation also called for the EU to revise its migration and refugees policies. “More than 80% of African migration happens inside the continent and Africa is the world’s biggest host of refugees and internally displaced persons. “European migration policies have an impact on many more people than just those who aim to reach Europe, and Oxfam daily witnesses the devastating impact of the EU migration policy measures on people on the move.”
On youth unemployment on the continent, the organisation said “Oxfam strongly believes in the power of young people as a force for change. The AU and the EU should agree to create socially and environmentally sustainable jobs and opportunities that help young people to thrive, rather than to survive”.