World / Europe

4th EU-Africa summit kicks off in Brussels

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-04-03 03:09

BRUSSELS - The 4th EU-Africa summit kicked off in Brussels on Wednesday under the theme of "Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace", aiming to promote breadth and scope of cooperation between the two continents.

According to the EU Council, Over 40 African and 20 European Heads of State and officials will attend the summit, reflecting the high level commitment to the partnership and determination to deepen it.

Addressing the opening of 4th Africa-EU Council, EU Council President Von Rompuy valued the partnership with Africa and expressed EU's wishes to enhance the relation comprehensively.

The EU considered Africa as important economic partner, saying in a statement that Africa has experienced impressive economic transformation. Its average GDP grew by 5.2 percent annually over the period 2003-2011. In 2012, eight out of the world's 10 fastest growing economies were African.

European commission President Barroso said at opening meeting that "EU partnership with Africa is a partnership of equals, now more relevant than ever."

According to the agenda, the situation in Central African Republic, new policy to boost bilateral trade and the measure to tackle climate change are high on agenda.

"The EU and Africa are determined to adopt in Paris in 2015 a fair, balanced, equitable and ambitious legally binding agreement under the UNFCCC applicable to all and guided by its principles, which will come into effect by 2020 at the latest."A joint statement by EU and Africa leaders said.

According to the EU, in 2012, the EU accounted for 48 percent of foreign direct investment stocks and 21 percent of global foreign direct investment flows to Africa. African investments in Europe have also made strides over the last 10 years.

The EU also emphasized in the statement than Europe remains Africa's biggest development partner. From 2007 and 2013 EU and its member states disbursed around 141 billion euros (194 billion U.S. dollars) in a aid to support Africa's development.

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