Building bridges of understanding between Africa and Europe in the wake of the war in Ukraine
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The war in Ukraine has elicited diverse reactions in the geopolitical landscape and created tensions across the globe. African and European countries have taken diverging positions in their response to the war. Although most actors have vocalised concern and condemnation of the war on the occasion of the vote at the UN General Assembly (2 March 2022), many have varied in their approach regarding engagement with the parties and approach to mitigate the military escalation. This has put a strain on the relationship between Western (EU) and African actors, with tensions being observed in various arenas where these stakeholders interact, including in Addis Ababa.
Although there is a mutual recognition of the importance of AU-EU relations and stronger strategic collaboration between them, the differing views and actions on the war in Ukraine have threatened to jeopardise the improving AU-EU relationship.
To bridge the gap between the diverging perspectives that exist between the various European and African stakeholders, a convening of actors from European and African civil society organisations and think tanks will discuss the historical underpinnings that have shaped AU-EU relationship and how these are linked to existing differences, and varying approaches and positions on the war in Ukraine.
Discussions will seek to produce a common understanding of the challenges at hand and devise a conciliatory and collective approach towards reversing the drawbacks the war in Ukraine has had on the world’s economy, including in Africa, as well as ensuring the protection of civilians impacted by the war.