The first Africa-EU Summit took place in Cairo, Egypt, on 3-4 April 2000. Although the African Union records that it was a meeting on a continental level, the irony is amusing considering that the European Union (EU) was only an organization of few European countries interested in Africa's resources and market.
Critics have pointed out that the Africa-EU Summit (just like the Berlin Conference) lacks the required representation for an adequate resolution. It is also no coincidence that the African-EU Summit began in 2000 – the same year that Portugal took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Under support from Britain and the initiative of Portugal, Otto von Bismarck, the chancellor of Germany, called on representatives of 13 nations in Europe as well as the United States to take part in the Berlin Conference in 1884 to work out a joint policy on the African continent.
To help the West achieve the same goals as the Berlin Conference, Portugal organized the Africa-EU summit to promote Europe’s interests.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to methodically explore Africa in search of gold, with the hope of bringing riches to Portugal and Europe in general. It appears Europe once again banked on Portugal to provide another medium for a joint policy on the African continent.
After the first Africa-EU Summit in April 2000, one of the many changes that followed was the dissolution of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the formation of the African Union (AU) on 9 July 2002. To date, some critics argue that the decision to dissolve the OAU was an orchestrated move by the West to fight African unity.
At the first African-EU Summit, African leaders expressed commitment to give a new strategic dimension to the global partnership between Africa and Europe; unknown to them; they were voluntarily handing over the continent's resources and markets to Europe.
The Africa-EU Strategic Partnership was formulated at this first meeting to become the formal political channel through which the EU and what will become the African Union (AU) dialogue, for the latter to handover territories, resources, and markets. It is no news that the majority of the resolutions affecting the continent today were brokered at Africa-EU Summits.
Critics have continued to question Europe's motive in the formation of the Summit and its activities since then. They claim that if Europe had good motives for the continent, the EU should have influenced the African Union into adopting regional integration, free trade, and a single currency, as is the case with countries under Europe's Schengen Agreement.
The Schengen Agreement led most of the European countries to abolish national borders and utilize one currency. Other than to negotiate and reach personal terms with African leaders towards penetrating their markets and exploiting resources, it is hard to point any other purpose which the African-EU Summits have served.
The purpose of the Berlin Conference was to regulate European colonization and trade in Africa during the new imperialism period. It appears the African-EU Summits are an extension of the Berlin Conference and are targeted at achieving the same goals in a post-independent Africa.
What are your thoughts, do you see any similarities in the motives of the Berlin Conference and the Africa-EU Summits?