The European Union on Saturday assured Africa of its strong support, according to a statement by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
Von der Leyen, who arrived in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, held discussions with the African Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat at the AU headquarters.
This was von der Leyen’s first trip outside Europe since she took office at the beginning of December.
Von der Leydn and Mahamat discussed a range of issues including climate change, the migrant crisis and security among others.
“I hope my presence at the African Union can send a strong political message because the African continent and the African Union matter to the European Union and to the European Commission,” von der Leyen said after the meeting.
The EU is Africa’s largest trading partner and biggest source of foreign investment and development aid.
Von der Leyen also met Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the latter whom she congratulated for winning the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
Additionally, the EU and Ethiopia also signed agreements worth an estimated $188 million.
Von der Leyen thereafter stressed the importance of the EU’s continued support of PM Ahmed’s progressive reform agenda.
“They have started but we need a long breath to see the effects that these reforms are bringing along,” she said.