Tackling the year-long conflict in Central African Republic was one of the top priorities for leaders at the fourth-ever EU-Africa summit that opened on Wednesday.
The two days of talks in Brussels come after a long-delayed EU military mission was finally deployed to the war-torn country.
Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the president of Mauritania and the current chair of the African Union, told euronews: “We cannot talk about development without discussing security. Because it’s the foundations upon which development is based. You cannot invest in an area where there is no security.”
Other key issues to be debated include ways Europe and Africa can boost bilateral trade.
But some analysts say such meetings can often fail to yield any concrete results.
Sanoussi Bilal of the European Centre for Development Policy Management said the summit should focus on “addressing the real issues”.
“What are the next opportunities and how maybe a new generation of leaders both in Africa and Europe can take the relationship forward to the benefits of both continents?” he said.
“(This) is still a bit lacking in this summit – and i don’t expect much out of this discussions that are happening in this next two days.”
More than 80 heads of state and government are attending.
Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe is staying away, however.
EU officials refused to list a travel ban on his wife.