The Africa-EU Strategic Partnership is the formal platform that has governed the relationship between the European Union and the African continent since 2007. It is based on shared values, common interests and strategic objectives – thus developing a strong political relationship and close cooperation in key areas. In preparation for the 5th Africa-EU summit taking place in Abidjan in November this year the Commission presented last 4 May 2017 a Communication on a “renewed impetus of the Africa-EU Partnership”.
This communication aims at setting the ground for revamping cooperation with the African continent in key strategic sectors and it will also contribute to progressing on the Africa Agenda 2063 – a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years.
In its communication the EU focuses on 7 sectors of cooperation proposing new actions and reinforcing existing ones. In a nutshell, the main takeaways are:
Peace and security are the basis for development. In this sense, the EU is willing to establish an international cooperation platform to address security threats by promoting peacebuilding and conflict prevention initiatives. Maritime security is a particular field where the EU want to contribute by upgrading maritime awareness strategies, tools and information networks as well as police and judiciary systems. Through the African Peace Facility (APF) alone, the EU channeled substantial funding amounting to over EUR 2 billion since 2004. Under the current 11th European Development Fund (EDF), the APF has allocated 961.2 million to Peace Support Operations, 55 million to the operationalization of the APSA and 15 million for Early Response actions. Under the current 11th EDF, additional EUR 428 million has been allocated to peace and security in the West Africa, Central Africa and Eastern Africa-Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Regional Indicative Programs.
Effective governance and fighting corruption is another important pillar. In this sense the EU aims to contribute to an effective public financial management and domestic resource mobilisation by 2020, in line with the Addis Tax Initiative The Commission supports African countries under the "Collect More – Spend Better" approach to establish efficient, effective, fair and transparent tax system.
Migration and mobility has proofed to be a challenging domain in recent times due to the increased migratory pressure. The EU has and will continue to mobilise substantial funding to address the root causes of migration. As an example, under the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, worth over EUR 2.6 billion, 112 programmes have already been approved for the Sahel region and Lake Chad, the Horn of Africa and North of Africa.
European major investments in the continent will be mostly channeled by the European External Investment Plan (EIP) – to be formally launched at the Africa-EU summit in Addis. The EIP is expected to leverage EUR 44 billion of investments until 2020, supported by a Sustainable Business for Africa (SB4A) platform that would enable a structured dialogue between the European and African counterparts.
Agriculture and Energy are critical factors of cooperation where the EU footprint has helped the African continent to overcome structural obstacles in order to achieve sustainable agriculture models and affordable and clean energy for its population. Blending initiatives such as AgriFi and ElectriFi are having an increasing role in both sectors. For the energy domain, the EU has earmarked EUR 2.7 billion of grants funding for sustainable energy projects in Africa for 2014-2020, a big part of which will be used to generate up to 10 times as much public and private financing. At the same time the EU is committed to deliver to the AREI objectives and reach 5 GW of renewable energy generation capacity by 2020 while bringing access to sustainable energy to 30 million people in Africa and saving 11 million tons of CO2 per year. In this sense the creation of innovative cooperation platforms is being currently explored. In in the field of agriculture, the EU has earmarked more than EUR 4.2 billion for 2014-2020 for actions related to food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture and fisheries in Africa and more than 30 African countries have chosen sustainable agriculture or rural development as focal sector in their bilateral cooperation with the EU.
Last but not least, the education sector will see the Launch of an African Youth Facility expanding the scope of Erasmus+ through 3 separate initiatives: i. A youth empowerment programme through capacity-building and mobility activities ii. Pilot a Vocational Education and Training mobility project; and iii. reinforce the African chapter of the Erasmus+ Students and Alumni Association.