EU paves the way for a stronger, more ambitious partnership with Africa

African Union_

(Avel Chuklanov, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


The European Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy today proposed the basis for a new strategy with Africa. The communication sets out proposals to intensify cooperation through partnerships in five key areas: green transition; digital transformation; sustainable growth and jobs; peace and governance; and migration and mobility. Based on this document, Europe will engage discussions with African partners towards a new joint strategy to be endorsed at the European Union – African Union Summit in October 2020.

European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “Today’s Strategy with Africa is the roadmap to move forward and bring our partnership to the next level. Africa is the European Union’s natural partner and neighbour. Together we can build a more prosperous, more peaceful and more sustainable future for all.”

High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission for a stronger Europe in the World, Josep Borrell, said: “A part of Europe’s future is at stake in Africa. To face our common challenges, we need a strong Africa, and Africa needs a strong Europe. There is everything to gain from reinforcing our already very strong partnership in areas such as peace and stability, poverty and inequalities, terrorism and extremism. Both our continents need each other to strengthen themselves, to strengthen each other, and to achieve a common ambition: a better world based on a rules-based international order.

The European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, commented: “With the proposed five partnerships, built around our shared interests and values, Africa and Europe will together lead on the green and digital transformation, as well as promote sustainable investment and jobs. My key priority now is to ensure that the Strategy with Africa is owned by the youth and women, as it responds to their aspirations.”

The renewed cooperation on the partnerships around the five areas proposed today will build on an ongoing dialogue with African partners, which will be taken forward ahead of the next EU-AU Summit in Brussels in October 2020 in view of defining joint strategic priorities for the years to come.

The proposals set out build on a growing momentum in EU-Africa relations. With the 6th Summit between the African Union and the EU and the conclusion of the negotiations of the new partnership agreement between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of States, 2020 will be a pivotal year in living up to our ambition of an even stronger partnership with Africa, our natural partner.

The partnership should be based on clear understanding of our respective and mutual interests and responsibilities.

The Communication proposes that the EU partners with Africa on the following actions:

  1. Maximise the benefits of the green transition and minimise threats to the environment in full compliance with the Paris Agreement
  2. Boost the continent’s digital transformation
  3. Substantially increase environmentally, socially and financially sustainable investments that are resilient to the impacts of climate change; promote investment opportunities by scaling up the use of innovative financing mechanismsand boost regional and continental economic integration, particularly through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement
  4. Attract investors by supporting African states in adopting policies and regulatory reforms that improve the business environment and investment climate, including a level-playing field for business
  5. Rapidly enhance learning, knowledge and skills, research and innovation capacities, particularly for women and youth, protecting and improving social rights, and eradicating child labour
  6. Adapt and deepen EU support to African peace efforts through a more structured and strategic form of cooperation, with a particular focus on regions where vulnerabilities are the highest
  7. Integrating good governance, democracy, human rights, the rule of law and gender equality in action and cooperation
  8. Secure resilience by linking humanitarian, development, peace and security interventions at all stages of the cycle of conflicts and crises
  9. Ensure balanced, coherent and comprehensive partnerships on migration and mobility
  10. Strengthen the international rules-based order and the multilateral system, with the United Nations at its core

Background

On 27 February 2020, the European Commission and African Union Commission met for the 10th ‘Commission to Commission’ meeting in Addis Ababa,where thefuture cooperation in the fields set out above was discussed. In May, the AU-EU Ministerial Meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of both continents will be another important opportunity to consult African partners.

The proposals also build on the commitments taken at the 5th African Union-European Union Summit in Abidjan. Progress achieved since then includes the launch in 2018 of the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs, calling for strengthened economic and trade relations, through sustainable investment and job creation. The conclusion of the AU-EU Memorandum of Understanding in 2018 on Peace, Security and Governance was also an important landmark, deepening cooperation in these areas

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