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Akufo-Addo, Bazoum and Gnassingbé talk aid, trade and security in Brussels

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Thursday, 10 June 2021 11:57

Nana Akufo-Addo (Ghana), Mohamed Bazoum (Niger) and Faure Gnassingbé (Togo). © JA : Francis Kokoroko ; Vincent FOURNIER/JA ; Togolese presidency

After attending the Paris summit on Africa’s economic recovery, Niger’s Mohamed Bazoum, Togo’s Faure Gnassingbé and Ghana’s Nana Akufo-Addo took advantage of their trip to make separate visits to Brussels. They discussed security, trade and aid; including the delicate transition in Chad after the death of President Idriss Déby.

The three leaders spent most of their time at the EU headquarters and at the European Council. Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum met with the council’s president, Charles Michel, on the afternoon of 19 May to discuss security and development issues in the Sahel, as well as another matter at the top of France’s agenda: cancelling Africa’s debt.

President Bazoum also held talks with Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The Nigerien delegation included Hassoumi Massaoudou (foreign minister); Ahmat Jidoud (finance minister) and Ibrahim Sani Abani (chief of staff to the president) – who formerly served as secretary general of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD).

According to our sources, in addition to meeting with over 20 European Parliament members, the Nigerien president also met with Jutta Urpilainen (international partnerships commissioner) and Janez Lenarčič (crisis management commissioner) on 20 May.

Togolese and Ghanaian heads of state also in Brussels

With Belgium and Niger celebrating 50 years of cooperation on the same day, President Bazoum also received a delegation from Belgium that included Sophie Wilmès (foreign minister), Ludivine Dedonder (defence minister), Meryame Kitir (development cooperation minister) and André Flahaut (MP and state minister). Mr Flahaut is also the honorary president of the Belgian parliament and plays an active role in African diplomacy.

On 19 May, the Nigerien president and his delegation visited the country to sign a new indicative cooperation programme at the invitation of Luxembourg’s Grand Duke Henri.

Having attended the summit in Paris, Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé was also in Brussels at the same time as Bazoum. The two leaders arranged a meeting on 20 May where they addressed the situation in Chad. As they were meeting, the G5 Sahel military alliance appointed President Bazoum as mediator alongside Mauritania’s Mohamed Ould Ghazouani and tasked them with overseeing the transition process in N’Djamena.

Like his Nigerien counterpart, President Gnassingbé also met with the European Council president and the international partnerships commissioner. The focus of the meeting was to examine the new partnership agreement that was struck in 2020 between the EU and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS). Togo’s Foreign Minister Robert Dussey had been one of the chief negotiators of the deal.

When Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo visited Brussels, he was also received by the EU council president.

The two leaders tackled several issues including Africa’s debt, the Covid-19 vaccination drive, and security in the Sahel. President Akufo-Addo currently serves as chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

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