President Jacob Zuma has arrived in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to attend the 5th African Union-European Union Summit, the Presidency said on Tuesday evening.
The summit, themed "harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in youth", is scheduled to take place from Wednesday to Thursday.
It will emphasise the importance of the youth in the two regions' socio-economic development programmes.
"The summit is also expected to focus on supporting the objectives of the African Union's Agenda 2063 and its flagship projects. It is further expected that the summit will adopt joint priority projects for the period 2018 to 2022 that would focus on mobilising investments for Africa's structural transformation, human capacity development, including capacitating the youth, and on addressing peace and security, ensuring good governance and creating resilient societies," the Presidency said.
A new partnership
Zuma said the summit provided an opportunity to strongly emphasise the need for a change in the nature of the relations between the African Union and the European Union (EU) from a post-colonial model of dependency to a new partnership of interdependence that addresses Africa's development challenges and contributes to shared prosperity between the two regions.
"It is also an opportunity to promote the importance of the African peace and security architecture and a need for Africa's partners to recognise and respect that the resolution of conflict situations in Africa is primarily the responsibility of the African Union supported by the UN Security Council," said Zuma.
The Presidency said at a national level, South Africa wished to further use the summit to give new impetus to the South Africa-EU Strategic Partnership, specifically since it is the 10th anniversary of the agreement.
"In this regard, the summit will further provide an opportunity for South Africa to enhance strategic economic and diplomatic relations through various engagements in the summit, and in the side events such as business forum and youth summit with a focus on inclusive economic growth, youth employment and entrepreneurship."
The summit would further discuss issues of mutual concern that affect the two regions including enhancing economic opportunities for youth, mobility and migration, trade and investment, cooperation on peace and security as well as cooperation on governance.