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    EUROPEAN UNION INVITES PRESIDENT CHAKWERA TO AU-EU SUMMIT

    President Lazarus Chakwera is heading to Brussels, Belgium this week to attend the 6th European Union – African Union (EU-AU) Summit from February 17 to 18.

    Communication from Ministry of Foreign Affairs says President Chakwera has been invited to the summit by the EU and that his travel costs are being covered by Malawi’s development partners.

    Contrary to social media reports on the size of his entourage, the President is travelling with a very small delegation.

    The EU is convening the meeting amid growing pressure for African partnership among other emerging powers like China, Turkey and Russia.

    Leaders will mainly discuss issues of shared interest like financing of projects, Covid-19 vaccines, Agriculture, Education, Climate change and Digital and Transportation.

    Pundits say the EU is using the summit to respond to the expansive influence of China through its Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.

    The 27-member union intends to use next week’s summit between leaders from the EU and African Union to showcase its Global Gateway Investment Scheme, intended to mobilize up to 300 Billion Euros of investment abroad, with a focus on green and digital infrastructure across the globe.

    In regards to Africa, the EU will unveil the Africa-Europe Investment Package valued at $171 billion to development on the continent.

    Package relates to infrastructure in energy, digital and transport, three priority investment areas of Global Gateway. It will also address issues around vaccine production and licensing, debt financing, migration, climate and security

    President Chakwera will specifically use the summit to seek sustainable support on climate change in the wake of recent devastation by Cyclone Ana which killed close to 40 people and destroyed property in more than half of the country’s 28 districts.

    The EU-Africa summit is held every three years and is hosted alternately between African and European capitals. The last summit was in 2017 in Ivory Coast but the subsequent one in 2020 was postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic.

     

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