The African Union -European Union Summit commenced on Thursday and is underway in Brussels the Kingdom of Belgium.
Malawi leader Dr Lazarus Chakwera is in attendance. This is the sixth summit of the AU – EU Summit.
The objective is to strengthen the economic and strategic partnership between Europe and Africa.
The two-day conference is expected to evolve from the usual donor-recipient dynamic which has characterised the relations of the continental blocs but instead deliver concerted solutions to global challenges such as Covid 19 and climate change.
Opening the summit, Charles Michel of the European Union Commission promised to work with AU to surmount problems in climate change, education, agriculture besides enhancing trade between the two blocs.
Mussa Faki Mahamati of the AU Commission said the time to forge a relationship based on trust and understanding while striving to meet the needs of African people is now. He called on Europe to prove a good partner.
President Dr Chakwera who is at the summit, wearing two hats, as President of Malawi and SADC Chairperson, held roundtable discussions on climate change, painting a first-hand picture of how dire the humanitarian situation is back home and in many parts of Southern Africa as a result of Tropical Storm Ana.
Today Friday, the President sits on a round table discussion on education, culture and vocational training, highlighting challenges the education sector is facing and areas that need support.
The issue of the Covid 19 vaccine, is also likely to cause controversy at the summit as the EU has recently refused to waive the vaccine patents, a decision which angered most African countries including South Africa which feels continued protection of intellectual property in the fight against COVID 19 will impact global production and increase inequalities in vaccine distribution.
Meanwhile, experts say, the emergence of more partners for Africa means the continent is an important player in global affairs.
China, the main competitor of the EU met African leaders earlier, besides USA, Turkey and Japan.