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EU eyes Africa trade boost

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EU eyes Africa trade boost

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EU and African leaders will meet in Ivory Coast this week.

Their aim, they say, is to boost trade links between both continents, especially in the agricultural sector.

Critics say EU policy to subsidise this part of the economy hurts farmers in Africa.

Local fruit importers here in Belgium, however, see opportunities here.

Michel Lefever manages the Mabru wholesale market in Brussels.

“People go much more often on holidays, in Africa and (other places) abroad. They see products down there, and they come here, they ask for these products again, so that stimulates demand,” he said.

Afruibana is a pan-African association of fruit and vegetable exporters.

It represents producers in Ghana, Cameroon and Ivory Coast, where the summit is taking place.

Joseph Owona Kono is the man who runs it.

He hopes increased trade will help foster entrenprenieural spirit in Africa.

“We have to get away from the concept of a farm worker who just works on these farms,” Kono said, urging people in rural areas to create small businesses.

Migration is another key topic leaders will be looking at during the summit.

Officials worry that population growth combined with poverty and climate change will continue to encourage people to leave for Europe’s shores.