The AU and EU Bodies meet Abidjan to discuss immigration and slavery

The leaders of the major region blocs of Africa and Europe are meeting in Abidjan, Ivory Coast
for their annual summit concerning trade and bilateral relations. This year’s agenda has been
on how to handle the issue of migration to Europe from the developing world particularly the
African continent. The recent immigrant/refugee crisis has been met with alarm by some
European countries’ citizens and is threatening the EU’s existence due to its open borders
policy. Another issue that has come up due to the concerns of African Leaders is the practice of
slavery. You hear me, slavery. A video has recently emerged from war torn Libya showing
African men been auctioned off as slaves by Arab captors. For those of us who thought this
practice died out in the 19 th Century, it may be disturbing to find out it has been arrived
somewhat illegally. But carries on without little deterrence by law enforcement.
Much binds Africa and Europe together. Collectively, the EU’s 28 members are Africa’s principal
trading partner, main foreign investor, chief source of remittances and largest provider of
development and humanitarian assistance. Yes, Europe and Africa do have a shared history,
going back over thousands of years; the Mediterranean was the main communication route,
allowing the Ancient Greeks and then the Romans to colonize the Northern part of the
continent. This of course facilitated the slave trade and the movement of other forms of trade
between the two continents.
Even after the “discovery” of the Americas in the 16 th century the hunger for natural resources
led most of Europe to have their own “Scramble for Africa”. So began the colonial era when the
European powers such as Britain, France and Germany began carving out territories for
themselves from mapless tribal lands. Nowadays European leaders such as former French
President Nicholas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron, have been credited with
armed intervention like the one that occurred in Libya and being instrumental in other forms of
political upheavals on the continent.
The AU announced that United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, Chairperson of
the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, President of the European Commission,
Jean Claude Junker, and the EU’s High Representative/ Vice President Federica Mogherini, had

met on the margins of the summit and agreed to form a joint EU- AU-UN Task Force to save
Libya and protect lives of migrants and refugees along the migratory routes and in particularly
inside Libya.
“The work of the Task Force will be closely and co-ordinate with the Libyan authorities and be
part of the overall joint work that the African Union, and the European Union and the United
Nations will intensify to dismantle traffickers and criminal networks and to offer opportunities
of development and stability to countries of origin and transit, tackling root causes of
immigration,” the AU said.
So Africa will be instrumental as a partner in helping to end the scourge of human trafficking
and other forms of organized crime that have plagued the process of rehabilitating migrants. It
is clear now that nations which are the source of migration should be given the means to make
them sustainable places to live and while at the same time discourage further migration. The
cooperation between Junker, Mahamat and Mogherini will certainly mean an end to the
organized crime.
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