AU-EU 2017 Summit: A summit that must make history

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he EU and AU’s first priority should be to urgently address this education crisis, urges Dorine Nininahazwe. [EPA/AHMED JALLANZO]

Amidst an unprecedented migration crisis, new security threats, and rapidly growing populations, it’s no secret that Africa and Europe need a redefined partnership that delivers jobs, growth, and security to both continents, argues Dorine Nininahazwe.

Dorine Nininahazwe is ONE’s representative to the African Union.

At today’s AU-EU Summit in Cote D’Ivoire, leaders will have a major opportunity to drive this partnership forward, and with the stakes this high, failure is not an option.

Africa has the largest youth bracket in the world but the rate of youth unemployment is staggering. According to the World Bank, youth account for 60% of all unemployed Africans. Combined with instability and conflict, the situation has led thousands of young people to risk their lives in search of better opportunities in Africa and Europe.

With the population of Africa expected to double by 2050, roughly 22.5 million jobs must be created each year to sustain growth. If the right investments are made today to educate, employ and empower this generation, the continent’s youth can drive growth and job creation that will benefit everyone. Africa could add $15 trillion to its economy over the next 30 years.

EU-Africa Summit: Focus on youth, security, investment

Leaders of the European Union and the African Union are attending the fifth EU-Africa Summit in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on 29 and 30 November. The official agenda is dedicated to the youth but migration, security, investment and trade are expected to dominate the talks.

Take for example that almost 40% of the 130 million girls out of school worldwide live in Africa. That’s 51 million girls who will not become engineers, teachers or doctors and whose talent and economic growth will be lost to the world will miss out on. The EU and AU’s first priority should be to urgently address this education crisis.

The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) replenishment in 2018 is one opportunity for the EU and AU to put rhetoric into action. ONE is calling on the EU to commit an additional €100m at the GPE’s replenishment conference in February 2018. This will ensure that the dreams of many girls going to school actually become a reality. Furthermore, these funds should support robust national education policies and seek to bolster implementation of reforms to make education work for every girl.

Besides education, a renewed partnership needs to focus on helping Africa harness its own potential by improving governance, accountability and transparency, and empowering citizens to hold governments and businesses accountable. One way to achieve this will be tackling corruption and money laundering which is crippling both continents.

EU-Africa Summit: Merkel, Macron join forces for migration agreements with Africa

On Wednesday, the fifth EU-Africa Summit will be the first test case for acting Chancellor Angela Merkel. Together with French President Emmanuel Macron and other EU leaders, she intends to send a signal to the Côte d’Ivoire for much closer cooperation with the southern continent.

The EU is currently conducting critical talks on the revision of the EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD). European leaders need to agree and commit to full transparency of beneficial ownership data for companies and trusts. Young citizens cannot trust what they cannot see, especially when they are kept in the dark by their own government’s opacity. Regaining their trust can only be achieved through full transparency and open government.

The question today is whether leaders will agree to concrete commitments that could change the course of history for millions of youth around the world. By investing in education, employment and empowerment for youth today, they can build the future of tomorrow.