Africa: AU, EU Leaders Underscore Role of Partnerships in Covid-19 Fight

(file photo).
25 October 2021

A successful African Union and European Union ministerial meeting is a testament to the two parties resolve and determination of bringing an end to Covid-19, which has ravaged every aspect of our lives and reversed some of the progress we had made as human-kind.

The Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission Monique Nsanzabaganwa, made the remarks while addressing over 500 participants who are currently in Kigali for the summit.

Nsanzabagabwa said that since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the world as we know it, has changed rapidly, with far-reaching consequences we are still trying to ascertain.

"I would like to stress the importance of our partnership with the European Union for the development trajectory of our continent especially within the context of the Covid-19 pandemic."

Indeed, she said, Africa would require all the necessary support from its closest partners and allies to bounce back and build forward better from the damaging consequences caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Africa is equally ready to make its contribution in shaping a more sustainable path to prosperity for all."

Nsanzabaganwa reiterated the commitment of the Commission, citing that it will among others, continue to ensure that the existing relationship is built on the principles of equality, respect and that it is mutually beneficial.

For Rita Laranjinha, the Managing Director of the European External Action Services, Europe and Africa need to work even closer together for the future of the two continents.

"Africa and Europe have a shared responsibility to shape the global agenda for the better," she said.

With the ministerial meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Laranjinha said that it is an important step for next year's EU-AU summit due in Brussels early next week.

Renewed commitment

In her remarks, Clementine Mukeka, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs highlighted that, for Rwanda, it is an occasion to renew commitment, strengthen existing cooperation as well as explore new areas of cooperation.

"It is also an opportunity to fast track AU-EU relations. T has been a platform where we come together and deliberate on how to improve any hitches as well as commend any developments," she added.

The second AU-EU ministerial meeting is a result of a decision taken by Heads of State and Governments in Abidjan, in 2017, during the 5th AU-EU Summit.

The decision requested both sides to meet regularly at the Ministerial level to take stock of the implementation of the outcomes of the Summit as well as review the progress made in cooperation.

Since this Decision was taken, both sides met in 2019, in Brussels, for the 1st AU-EU Ministerial Meeting, and now Rwanda for the second.

"I am convinced that the Ministerial Meetings have brought a new practical dimension to our partnership in the sense that we have a framework to jointly reflect on the progress achieved," Nsanzabaganwa reiterated.

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