Business News of 2014-01-18

EU-Africa Summit to prioritise peace

This year European Union (EU)-Africa Summit would prioritize on investing in peace to ensure security for all investors in achieving national development.

The EU granted 50 Euros million to support the African-led International Support Mission to Mali through the African Peace Facility, to supports the African Union and regional African organisations in carrying out peace-keeping operations such as AMISOM in Somalia and MICOPAX in the Central African Republic.

The EU since 2004 had provided more than 1.1 billion Euros through the African Peace Facility to prevent conflict and promote peace, in Darfur, Somalia, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

Dr Nicholas Westcott, European Action Service Managing Director for West African made the remarks on Friday in an interaction with the press in Accra on preparation towards the 2014, 4th EU Africa Summit.

The Summit scheduled to take place in Brussels in April 2014, would discuss bilateral cooperation and political dialogue between the two continents in promoting shared interests and tackle common regional and global challenges within the Joint Africa-EU Strategy.

Other key topics would be the environment and climate action, sustainable energy and agriculture, food safety and security, resilience, education, employment, health and migration.

The event comprising of 28 European members and 55 African countries would focus on the theme “Investing in Peace, Prosperity and people”.

Dr Westcott said the theme is timely because Africa is growing faster but experiencing high rate of unemployment adding that the Summit will engage member states to chart the way forward in addressing the phenomenon.

He noted that a common challenge for both Africa and Europe remains to consolidate sustainable economic growth and ensure that it is inclusive in creating jobs, especially for women and young people.

Dr Westcott said the issue requires coordinated action at continental, regional and national levels to address the challenges facing African countries.

He said the Summit would look at ways to cooperate more closely on the structural challenges in helping economies to prosper in addressing education, health, women- and youth empowerment and development of human capital.

He said the Summit would create a business platform for African countries to develop their own trade and investment plans including trade and infrastructure, economic governance and raw materials and customs and taxation.

Dr Westcott said the EU is the biggest trading partner for Africa and remains its most important donor adding that African countries received close to 24 billion Euros of Official Development Assistance from the EU in the period 2007 to 2012.

He said the relationship between Ghana and EU is productive in the field of technical and financial support through regional integration of creating bigger markets for global competition.

Dr Westcott commended Ghana for its active role of supporting peace by sending 850 troops to South Sudan in order to help restore peace and stability and prevent the country from descending into civil war.

Dr Westcott is schedule to meet President John Dramani Mahama to officially invite him to the Summit, as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and Minister of Finance for international and economic relations.

Eighty Heads of State and Government from Africa and Europe adopted the Joint Africa-EU Strategy at the Summit in Lisbon in December 2007.

Both sides agreed to pursue common interests and strategic objectives together and outline a long-term shared vision of the future of Africa-EU relations in a globalised world.

Source: GNA
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