International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has today concluded a working visit to Brussels, where she led the South African delegation to the Fourth Africa-European Union (EU) Summit, which took place on 02-03 April 2014, under the theme: “Investing in Peace, Prosperity and People.”
The South African delegation included Dr Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry and senior government officials.
The leaders from the two continents took stock of progress and challenges over the past three years within the framework by the Africa-EU Action Plan 2010-2013 that was adopted at the Third Africa-EU Summit in Tripoli, Libya, in November 2010.
In the context of unprecedented economic growth in Africa and economic decline in Europe, the Summit afforded African and European leaders the opportunity to exchange views in order to strengthen political and socio-economic cooperation.
The leaders had frank and open discussions with a view to strengthen partnership between Africa and Europe based on mutual respect and dignity.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane stated that: “The Summit took place against the background of South Africa’s 20th anniversary of freedom and the African Union’s Golden Jubilee. Africa wants to develop a relationship that is based on understanding of the changing dynamics of both partners and on real partnership of equals.”
“In this regard, Africa’s aspirations which are encompassed in Agenda 2063, elaborate its plan for placing the Continent on a path towards prosperity, peace and security and occupying its rightful place in the global system,” said the Minister.
The Summit adopted the 2014-2017 Road Map which sets out five (5) strategic priorities and identifies the means to implement them in areas of mutual interest i.e. peace and security; democracy, good governance and human rights; human development; sustainable and inclusive development and growth and continental integration; and global and emerging issues.
With regard to trade and investment, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane stated that Africa wants to set a new trade agenda based on partnership and mutual benefit. Africa is developing its infrastructure and is embarking in an industrialisation programme that will see the continent achieving its ambition of producing and exporting value-added goods.
In this regard, the Minister stipulated that: “Consistent with this new paradigm, we are of the view that the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) we have with the EU should be developmental in nature and reinforce the process of economic integration currently underway in Africa.”
The three outcome documents adopted at the Summit were the Brussels Declaration of the Heads of State and Government, which is the main outcome document for the Fourth Africa-EU Summit; the 2014-2017 Africa-EU Road Map; and the Declaration on Migration and Mobility. These documents can be found at http://www.european-council.europa.eu/eu-africa-summit-2014.
The Fifth Summit will take place in Africa in 2017.