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From a strategy for Africa to an EU-Africa strategic partnership

Two years after the adoption of the European Union (EU) Strategy for Africa in 2005, the EU and Africa are redefining their partnership in the light of the profound transformations they have experienced in recent years. It is now time to move on from a strategy for Africa to a strategic partnership with Africa.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 27 June 2007 - From Cairo to Lisbon – The EU-Africa Strategic Partnership [COM(2007) 357 final – not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: FROM CAIRO TO LISBON

The first historic European Union (EU)-Africa summit, which was held in Cairo in 2000, launched a more structured political dialogue between the EU and Africa, in particular through regular meetings between senior officials and ministers. Following the creation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) in 2001 and the African Union (AU) in 2002, a second summit should have been held in Lisbon in 2003 but was postponed due to controversy over the participation of certain countries.

In October 2005, at a joint meeting with the AU Commission, the European Commission adopted a Communication on the EU strategy for Africa, which was formally approved by the European Council in December of the same year. This strategy has reinforced the coherence of internal EU policy and the coordination of the Commission and the Member States' policies towards Africa.

In December 2005, participants at the fifth EU-Africa ministerial meeting in Bamako agreed that the next step should be to develop a joint EU-Africa strategy. This position was subsequently confirmed by the European Council in December 2006 and by the AU summit in January 2007.

This joint strategy will serve to reinforce the political dialogue between the EU and Africa in order to:

  • go beyond the framework of simple development cooperation by opening up the dialogue to common political concerns and issues of common interest;
  • go beyond the African continent by moving on from a strategy focused exclusively on African concerns to address European and global issues and, as a result, take action in the relevant fora;
  • move beyond fragmented support for African aspirations to find regional and global solutions to the most important challenges;
  • guarantee increased participation of African and European citizens on the strategic partnership and thus contribute to the strengthening of civil society in both continents.

Following approval of the broad thrust of the joint strategy at the eighth EU-Africa ministerial troika meeting, the finalised strategy was adopted at the second EU-Africa summit (see "Related acts").

PROPOSALS FOR THE JOINT EU-AFRICA STRATEGY

The joint strategy will pursue four political objectives, namely:

  • reinforcement of the partnership, transforming it into a genuine partnership of equals;
  • promotion of key issues with respect to development, such as peace and security, governance and human rights, trade and regional and continental integration in Africa;
  • joint response to global challenges;
  • promotion of a wide-based and wide-ranging people-centred partnership.

Specifically, the European Commission is proposing five joint initiatives, which will be included in an action plan annexed to the joint strategy. They are:

An energy partnership

This partnership will create a platform aiming at:

  • reinforcing the current dialogue on issues such as access to energy and energy security;
  • scaling up investment in energy infrastructure;
  • investing a higher proportion of oil and gas revenues in development activities;
  • mainstreaming climate change into development cooperation.

Moreover, the partnership should build on existing instruments, such as:

Partnership on climate change

The partnership will strengthen cooperation between the EU and the AU in the following areas:

  • disaster risk reduction;
  • halting deforestation;
  • participation of developing countries in the global carbon market;
  • promotion and deployment of environmentally friendly technologies;
  • better monitoring of the environmental effects of climate change.

In January 2007 AU leaders, recognising the vulnerability of Africa to climate change, committed themselves, through the Addis Ababa Declaration, to integrating climate change into their development policies, programmes and activities at national and sub-regional level. This constitutes a sound basis for a partnership between the EU and the AU in this area.

Partnership on migration, mobility and employment

With respect to migration, cooperation between the EU and Africa will involve the establishment of a network of Africa-based migration observatories which will collect, analyse and disseminate information on migration flows within Africa and between Africa and the EU. Special attention will be given to the skilled labour issue.

As regards mobility, the partnership will aim at building African capacity in the area of migration information management. Moreover, it will encourage the movement of skilled labour through the creation of partnerships between European and African institutions such as universities and hospitals.

Finally, in order to offer Africans a genuine alternative to migration to Europe, the partnership will focus on creating more and better jobs in Africa, particularly in the formal economy.

Partnership on democratic governance

The AU and the EU must stimulate the dialogue on governance issues of mutual interest, such as human rights and natural resource management, through the creation of a governance forum that will bring together non-state actors, national parliaments, local authorities and regional organisations. Moreover, the EU will explore new strategies for increasing European Community and Member State funding to support the Pan-African governance architecture.

Political and institutional architecture

The Commission stresses the need to strengthen the dialogue between all EU and AU institutions, in particular between the European Parliament and the Pan-African Parliament, and also between the European Commission and the AU Commission. The EU and the AU could also hold joint ministerial meetings. These efforts will build on the existing biannual EU-Africa ministerial troika meetings and on summits of the Heads of State or Government, which could be held every two or three years alternately in Europe and Africa.

On this basis, the European and African partners are working together to draw up the joint strategy and the action plan. Apart from the aforementioned initiatives, the establishment of partnerships on peace and security, democratic governance and human rights, science, the information society and space is envisaged, with particular emphasis on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

RELATED ACTS

Lisbon declaration [Not published in the Official Journal] (pdf ).
This declaration, which was adopted at the close of the second EU-Africa summit on 8-9 December 2007 by the Heads of State or Government of 53 African countries and the 27 EU Member States, lays the foundations for the new strategic partnership of equals between Africa and the EU. This declaration, which contains the philosophy and commitments of the partnership, was adopted at the same time as the first joint EU-Africa strategy and its first three-year action plan (2008-2010) (pdf ).
The strategic priorities identified form the basis of eight partnerships whose progress will be assessed at the next summit in 2010. These partnerships cover the following areas: peace and security, democratic governance and human rights, trade and regional integration, achieving the MDGs, and energy, as well as science, the information society and space.

Last updated: 16.05.2008
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