African leaders will meet their European counterparts at a summit to redefine their relationship, even as the continent feels the pain of recent negative policies from Europe.
The meeting, planned for February, will come weeks before the US-Africa summit set to be hosted by US President Joe Biden, and just months after the Forum on China–Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) summit that was held in Senegal in November.
African leaders say financing economies weighed down by the Covid-19 pandemic and debts, and vaccine access, are all critical issues to future engagement with Europe.
Even before they met on December 19 in a session hosted by European Council president Charles Michel to prepare the upcoming EU-AU Summit in Brussels on February 17 to 18 next year, several African leaders attended the three-day Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit.
Mr Michel emphasised that the new EU-AU alliance should be based on prosperity, peace and common values, and that the EU supports a holistic approach to strengthen African health systems and vaccine production.
Among the participants were President of Senegal Macky Sall, AU Commission president Moussa Faki, DRC President Félix Tshisekedi, President of Rwanda Paul Kagame, European Investment Bank president Werner Hoyer and OIF Secretary-General Louise Mushikiwabo.
At the summit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged common development and prosperity, as well as to help address “the global injustice and victimisation of Africa in terms of access to vaccines”, in an attempt to leverage on the longstanding grudge over alleged bias in vaccine distribution that pitted Africa against the West.