World in brief: AU-EU summit

African states on the front foot as they demand action

The World Today
2 minute READ

James Orr

Journalist on South Asia, the US and the Middle East, Freelance

The sixth African Union-European Union summit taking place in mid-February faces a fresh set of challenges as the world emerges from the Covid pandemic.

Traditionally held every three years, the previous summit was in 2017 in Côte d’Ivoire with this sixth summit being postponed due to the pandemic. 

The two-day conference in Brussels from February 17 will move forward the debate on vaccine production and licensing, as well as exploring the deepening concerns over debt financing, infrastructure, migration, climate and security in the Sahel.

The African continent has been hard hit by the pandemic, with World Bank figures showing levels of debt in sub-Saharan low to middle-income countries reaching $702 billion in 2020, the highest in a decade.

Recent complaints by Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s president, of ‘vaccine apartheid’, along with similar grievances over Covid travel restrictions by other African leaders, have raised the temperature. 

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