In preparation for the AU-EU Summit that takes place triennially, representatives of EU and AU meet yearly to align their respective positions on the partnership, and ensure that the voices of the social and economic stakeholders are heard. The objectives of these meetings are to:
- Ensure that economic and social interest groups can make recommendations to political decision-makers;
- Lay the foundations for regular and structured cooperation between the representatives of European and African economic and social interest groups;
- Help consolidate and strengthen the capacities of economic and social stakeholders;
- Exchange knowledge and best practice.
The conclusions of the economic and social stakeholders' meeting are summarised in a declaration addressing the key issues at stake and outlining proposals.
The 4th Meeting of Africa-EU Economic and Social Stakeholders' Network took place in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, on 16 and 17 November 2017, ahead of the 5th AU-EU Summit. This meeting was organised jointly by the economic, social, environmental and cultural council (CESEC) of Côte d’Ivoire and the European economic and social committee (EESC), with the support of the European Commission. Recommendations were made on topics of shared interest namely: the contribution of economic and social stakeholders to future EU-Africa relations; the importance of agriculture and the agrifood sector in transforming Africa; education and boosting young people’s skills and; strategies to support the development of green economies. More broadly, participants emphasised the importance of delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union's Maputo and Malabo declarations, with a view to fostering prosperity while protecting the planet.