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Brussels, 4 June 2010

Africa-EU relations - key facts and figures

Africa-EU relations are now framed within the context of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) adopted at the Lisbon Summit in December 20071. The Strategy reflects the will of 80 Head of States and Governments from Europe (27) and Africa (53) to redefine the relations between the two continents in the framework of a Strategic Partnership to tackle together global challenges.

The European and African Union Commissions (EC-AUC) are the main engines of the Strategy. They meet on a regular basis, at Presidents' and Commissioners' level, to provide political guidance to Africa-EU relations.

The African Union (AU) succeeded the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 2002. Since then the AUC has emerged as a natural interlocutor on the African continent and as a key partner for the EC and other international partners. In addition to the Chairperson Jean Ping, the AU College consists of a Vice-Chairperson, Erastus Mwencha, and eight Commissioners, who took office in April 2008 for a 4-year mandate, following their appointment by the AU Summit.

The first EC-AUC "College-to-College" (C2C) meeting took place in 2005 in Brussels, followed by a 2006 edition in Addis Ababa. The last edition was held in Brussels on 1 October 2008, when 23 members of the EC welcomed the 10 members of the AUC to discuss their institutional relations and to agree on the way forward with the implementation of the 8 thematic partnerships of the first triennial Action Plan (2008-2010) of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES).

The objective of the action Plan attached to the strategy is to ensure that the political framework defined in a long-term perspective leads to short-term concrete deliveries. The first Action Plan (2008-2010) is structured around 8 thematic partnerships which implementation has already led to important concrete actions.

1 Peace and Security - Some examples of first actions

  • Enhanced political dialogue at the continental (AU Peace and Security Council and EU Political and Security Committee), regional (regular exchanges with Economic Community Of West African States – ECOWAS - on the situation in countries such as Mauritania, the Republic of Guinea and Guinea Bissau are cases in point) and national (Art. 8 Cotonou Agreement) levels.

  • € 1 billion of EU funding to support the African Peace and Security Agenda and Architecture. This support covers a range of activities such as the Continental Early Warning System, the definition and implementation of disarmament and counter-terrorism policies and the operationalisation of the African Standby Forces, including African Training Centres.

2. Democratic Governance and Human Rights – Some examples of first actions

  • Cooperation in the area of electoral observation: support to AU's Electoral Assistance Fund (€1M) with the aim to improve the AU's capacity to lead on election observation on the African continent.

  • Political and financial support for the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is provided through an increased Governance Incentive Tranche (€2.7 billion) and support to 'national programs of action'. The EC is contributing € 2 M to the UNDP-managed Trust Fund to support the APRM Secretariat and has provided support to some national APRM Structures.

3. Trade, Regional Integration and Infrastructure – Some examples of first actions

  • 3 regional programmes signed between African regions and EC for the period 2008-2013 represent €1.5 billion: Eastern and Southern Africa (€645 m); West Africa (€598 m); SADC (€116 m), Central Africa (€165 m).

  • The African Charter for Statistics was adopted in February 2009 by the Heads of State and Government of the AU. It provides a policy framework and an advocacy tool for statistics in Africa.

  • Launch of a vast programme of harmonization of sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) measures with a €10 m support (end of 2010).

4. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – Some examples of first actions

  • Food security: €1 billion mobilized through the European Commission Food Facility, of which approximately €560 m is destined for Africa.

  • Health: EU has contributed to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), with the EC alone providing € 100 m per year in 2008 and 2009, and committing 9.5 M in 2008 to the Global Fund for Vaccines and Immunization. €121 m have been allocated to health research with €27 m dedicated for neglected diseases.

  • Education: The European Commission has contributed to the catalytic Fund of the Education for All Fast Track Initiative (EFA), 21 out of 30 countries that benefited from the Fund are in Africa. As part of its support (€1.45 m) to the International Task Force Teachers for EFA, the EC will also support a conference in Africa on Teacher policy issues with African Ministers of Education in mid-2010.

5. Energy: some examples of first actions:

  • At the continental level, the two Commissions have agreed to work on standardisation and integration of energy markets. At the sub-regional level, the EC is supporting integration of electricity markets in Maghreb countries, as well as access to energy services in Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • The EU is already working with some African countries to develop a Mediterranean Solar Plan. A Commission Communication on the Med-Ring for gas and electricity is planned for 2010. Major joint initiative to harness renewable energy will be launched with support from the EC and several EU member states.

6. Climate Change – Some examples of first actions

  • Under the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) initiative: Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles and Tanzania have been identified for enhanced cooperation (2009-2010). Five other African countries are in the process of being selected for 2010.

  • The 2nd implementation phase of the Great Green Wall of the Sahara and Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI) Action Plan will be launched with financial support from EU and FAO. This initiative consists of a set of cross-sectoral actions aimed at the sustainable management of natural resources.

7. Migration, Mobility and Employment – Some examples of first actions

  • Funding for the African Remittances Institute (€ 1.7 m) and for the establishment of EU African Diaspora Network (€ 1.5 m) has been made available. And a € 3M envelop now underpins the Africa-EU political dialogue on migration, mobility and employment.

  • Establishment of regional networks (West and East/South) of experts in African States and interested EU MS on the fight against human trafficking is being reviewed.

8. Science and Technology, ICT and Space – some examples of first actions

  • Science: EU will support research efforts focusing on water and food security, the environment and on better health for Africa (€63 m). The EU will also fund the African Research Grants with €15 m. The first African Women and Young Scientist Awards were given on African Union Day, 9 September 2009. This was followed by the continental African Scientist Award given at the AU Summit in January 2010.

  • Information Society: EASSy, a 10.000Km submarine fibre-optic multi-point cable system along the East coast of Africa, will be operational in 2010 (contribution from the Infrastructure Trust Fund of €3.6 m)

  • Space: the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) and Africa initiative is being pursued through the strong support by the EC and several EU Member States. This initiative aims at using Space-based earth observation in support to sustainable development, helping to manage the continent’s environment, its natural resources and supporting crisis monitoring and humanitarian operations. A detailed Action Plan should be finalized in time for the next EU-AU Summit in 2010.

Further information on the Africa-EU Partnership may be found at:


1 :

The first EU-Africa summit took place in Cairo, Egypt in 2000. It was followed in 2001 by the launch of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), under the leadership of South Africa, Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria and Senegal. In 2007, the second EU-Africa Summit held in Lisbon, Portugal, adopted the Joint Africa-EU Strategy. The third EU-Africa Summit will be held on 29-30 November 2010.

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