EU and African leaders launched a two-day summit aimed at rebooting ties through pledges of major investment in the face of competition from China and Russia. Relations between the neighbouring continents have been hampered by a raft of problems. They range from disputes over coronavirus vaccine supplies, to curbing illegal migration, a wave of coups in Africa, and the growing clout of Russian mercenaries in Africa. “It’s a fresh start for a renewed partnership,” said Senegal’s President Macky Sall, who currently chairs the African Union, as he arrived for the talks. President Emmanuel Macron of France, whose country holds the European Union’s rotating presidency, hopes the first joint summit since 2017 can burnish his grand ambition of forging an “economic and financial New Deal with Africa”. “We are not here to carry on business as usual,” said European Council chief Charles Michel.