Europe's leaders will offer Africa up to €3.6 billion in aid at a summit in Malta in exchange for help tackling the migration crisis rocking Europe.
The rare gathering on Wednesday (local time) of around 50 leaders from the two continents is the newest prong in the European Union's strategy to deal with the biggest flow of refugees and migrants since World War II.
The money is meant to persuade African leaders to take back more economic migrants from the EU, with many African countries reluctant to lose the billions of dollars in remittances sent by people working abroad.
EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said European nations will "enhance collaboration" with African countries to protect refugees, send home irregular migrants and stop those who smuggle them, while offering Africans legal channels of migration.
"That is why this week's summit in Valletta is so important," Avramopoulos told reporters.
As a carrot, the European Commission, the 28-nation EU's executive arm, is setting up a €1.8 billion "trust fund" for Africa and has urged member states to match that sum – although European sources said it was not sure that they would.
The money would go towards tackling the root causes of migration like poverty and armed conflict.
Progress on the main thrust of the EU's current migrant strategy – fostering co-operation with Turkey – will be discussed when EU leaders meet without the Africans on Thursday in Valletta.
Turkey has surpassed North Africa as the main launching point for migrants coming to Europe, and currently hosts two million Syrian refugees.
But tensions with Ankara have undermined efforts to get it to crack down on the huge numbers leaving its shores.