The 31st African Union Summit was held in Nouakchott, Mauritania from 25 June to 2 July 2018, recording progress on the African Continental Free Trade Area. A joint AU-EU event “Women in Power” took place on the side, putting women's empowerment and gender equality at the top of the AU-EU cooperation agenda.
The 31st AU Summit could advance the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA), announcing that Namibia, Burundi, Lesotho, and Sierra Leone signed the agreement, increasing the number of signatories to 49 out of the 55 member states of the African Union. The AU Assembly also adopted five services priority sectors - Transport, Communication, Finance, Tourism and Business services.
The Summit approved the African Union budget for 2019 for USD 681.5 million. Following budgetary reforms, this represents a 12% reduction compared to 2018. Africa continues to make progress in mobilising financial resources within the continent through the implementation of the decision on financing of the Union. At least 14 African Union member states are already collecting the 0.2% levy from eligible imported goods.
In line with the 2018 theme “Winning the fight against corruption: A Sustainable Path for Africa’s Transformation,” the Assembly encouraged African Union member states to combat illicit financial flows. The theme of the year 2019 was designated as the “Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons in Africa: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement”.
The joint side event "Women in Power" was co-hosted by AU Chair President Paul Kagame and EU Commissioner Neven Mimica. Six months after the AU-EU Abidjan Summit, this high-level dialogue between Africa and Europe was another signal of the strong partnership and efforts to support gender equality and women’s empowerment.