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Africa-Europe Summit Begins Amid Hope, Skepticism and a Wary Eye on China

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) and Senegal's President Macky Sall (R) attend the conference "Investing together, for a new alliance between Africa and Europe" organized by the French Development Agency (AFD) on February 16, 2022. SARAH MEYSSONNIER / POOL / AFP

European and African leaders kicked off a two-day summit in Brussels on Thursday amid a sense that ties between these two continents have reached a critical inflection point.

European leaders, notably French President Emmanuel Macron, the current rotating president of the EU, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, have set the bar very high for this week’s gathering — promising to revive ties that have become stale, invest billions for new infrastructure and finally provide access to COVID-19 vaccines.

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