Navigation path

Left navigation

Additional tools

Other available languages: none

European Commission


Brussels, 25 January 2013

1. Key facts about the strategic partnership between EU and Africa

On 27-28 January, EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs will represent the EU at the African Union (AU) summit of African heads of state and government. The EU-AU relationship is very close and is guided by the joint strategy between the two organisations.

The Joint Strategy, which was adopted by Heads of State and Government from Africa and Europe at the Lisbon Summit in December 2007.

The Strategy puts EU-Africa relations on a new footing, based on the pursuit of shared values, common interests and strategic objectives. Both sides are determined to overcome the traditional donor-recipient relationship and narrow development focus, instead wanting to strengthen their cooperation as equal partners, based on this shared long-term vision for EU-Africa relations in a globalised world.

The Joint Strategy focuses on moving:

  1. beyond development cooperation, by opening up the Africa-EU dialogue and cooperation to issues of joint concern and interest such as jobs and trade;

  2. beyond Africa by moving away from the traditional focus on purely African development matters, towards effectively addressing global challenges such as migration, climate change, peace and security;

  3. beyond fragmentation, in supporting Africa’s aspirations to find trans-regional and continental responses to some of the most important challenges;

  4. beyond institutions, in working towards a people-centred partnership, ensuring better participation of African and European citizens.

Based on this shared vision and on common principles, the Joint Strategy defines eight specific partnerships in the areas of:

  • Peace and Security,

  • Democratic Governance and Human Rights,

  • Trade, Regional Integration and Infrastructure,

  • Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),

  • Energy,

  • Climate Change and Environment,

  • Migration, Mobility and Employment,

  • Science, Information Society and Space.

Implementing the Partnership

The last Africa-EU Summit in November 2010 emphasised the need for a link between closer economic cooperation and integration, and highlighted the importance of increased private sector engagement. It also called for enhanced cooperation in the fields of science and information society: to create a more inclusive knowledge-based and globally competitive economy.

In their Summit Declaration, leaders renewed their commitments and adopted an Action Plan (2011-2013), calling for reinforced cooperation in the eight priority areas and the setting up of support mechanisms to facilitate the process.

Key deliverables

Since the 2010 Africa-EU Summit, the EU and Africa have been active in supporting the implementation of the second Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) action plan 2011-2013, which was set up by the European Commission, in collaboration with its African partners, to deliver more and better results.

Under the Africa-EU partnership, work has been carried out in health, gender, peace and security, agriculture, infrastructure and human rights.

A few key examples are highlighted below:

The African Union Support Programme (AUSP)

Through the AUSP the EU has allocated €55 million under the European Development Fund to provide a support to AU institutions, notably to assist the African Union Commission (AUC) in speeding up the Institutional Reform Process. This support has enabled the AU Commission to effectively play its role as “motor” of the African integration process and to facilitate the deepening of the partnership between the AU and the EU.

The African Peace Facility (APF)

The APF is the operational tool of the Africa-EU partnership on peace and security. Through this instrument, the EU supports the AU and other African regional organisations in finding ‘African solutions to African problems’. The missions financed by the facility are led and staffed by Africans.

Since the creation of the APF in 2004, the EU has committed more than €1 billion. The two ongoing peace support operations are AMISOM (the AU Mission in Somalia and MICOPAX (the Mission for the Consolidation of Peace in the Central African Republic.)

At the EU Foreign Affairs Council on 17th January 2013, the EU announced that €50 million have been reserved under the APF to support the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA). This mission is expected to contribute to helping the country to recover its territorial integrity.

The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)

The objectives of the APRM are primarily to foster the adoption of policies, standards and practices that lead to political stability, high economic growth, sustainable development and accelerated subregional and continental economic integration through experience sharing and reinforcement of successful and best practices, including identifying deficiencies and assessment of requirements for capacity building.

Since 2009 the European Commission has contributed €2 million to the UNDP-managed Trust Fund to support the APRM Secretariat.

The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP)

Under the European Development Fund (EDF) and Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), Food Security Thematic Program, the EU has provided €15 million to support African Institutions (AUC, New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), Agency and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) leading to the implementation of the CAADP process at continental, regional and national level.

The EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (ITF)

The EU-Africa Partnership on Infrastructure is a cornerstone of the EU Strategy for Africa. The partnership aims to increase European and African investment in infrastructure and related services. It mixes grants and loans to increase the total amount for large-scale regional infrastructure projects Africa.

Its total endowment is €392.7 million. The total allocation from the Commission now stands at €308.7 million. The remaining €84 million are contributed by the participating EU Member States.

Climate to Development in Africa (CLIMDEV Africa)

The EU has contributed up to €8 million to CLIMDEV Africa, in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). This continental initiative aims to enable the African population to be better prepared for climate challenges (droughts, rainfall patterns modifications, extreme weather events etc.) by adapting agro-ecosystems, better managing water resources, preserving genetic variability in local species, or accessing information, addressing the need for improved climate information in Africa and strengthening access to and the use of such information by decision-makers and key stakeholders (e.g. to anticipate future changes; be it slow-onset events such as shorter rain seasons or sudden shocks such as hurricanes or storms).

The next Summit

The 4th EU-Africa Summit is expected to take place in 2014 in Brussels. Efforts are under way to speed up the implementation of the current Action Plan and to deliver more tangible results for the citizens of both continents.

Background: EU Development cooperation for Africa

Since the adoption of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy, the EU has mainstreamed the new priorities in its various aid and cooperation instruments.

Under the current financial perspectives 2008-2013, the European Development Fund (€22.7 billion) is the main instrument for cooperation with Sub-Saharan African countries. The European Development Fund supports the cooperation at national, regional and intra-ACP levels. The national and regional programming for Africa for 2008-2013 amounts to €13.9 billion.

Africa is also covered by the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument for the Mediterranean countries, the relevant geographic and thematic part of the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), and by worldwide thematic instruments such as the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).

2. Key facts about our cooperation with Africa

Why is Africa a development priority for the EU?

  1. A large majority of least developed countries, as identified by the UN, (34 out of 49) are in Africa.

  2. Three out of every four Africans live in poverty, while there are powerful development opportunities to be seized in Africa.

  3. Most donors, apart from the EC, support a limited number of better performing states; the EC believes aid should go where it is most needed and therefore also supports the poorest countries and fragile states.

  4. Even if Africa is expanding its economic relations with other continents, the EU remains Africa's top trading partner; while Africa accounts for 9% of EU27 trade, with France, Italy and Germany accounting for more than half of all EU27 trade with Africa. European Commission president José Manuel Barroso underlined however that the EU remains the globe's top provider of "aid for trade".

  5. Africa is the continent that suffers the most from the effects of climate change and where energy poverty is highest. Nevertheless, it has enormous potential to spark a "renewable energy revolution" and lift almost 600 million Africans out of energy poverty.

  6. The current economic recession can have even greater consequences for Africa than it has on Europe. People may not only lose jobs and houses, but may pull their children out of school and have less money for food and health.

  7. Steady economic growth and improvements in poverty reduction in Africa have a positive impact on MDG progress, particularly in increasing access to primary education and decreasing HIV/AIDS prevalence.

How does the EU make a difference in Africa?


  1. Better access to food for millions of Africans:

    The EU is the world's largest donor on food security. The EU Commission plays a leading role in tackling hunger and malnutrition and supports the G8 alliance on food and nutrition. Agriculture is one of the priorities that future EU aid will focus on. Since 2006, the Commission has committed €1 billion every year to strengthen food security and agricultural development across the world.

  2. Affordable and more reliable access to water and energy services for millions of Africans:

    Under the Water Facility, 14.5 million people are expected to gain access to safe water, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Of these, 3.5 million will also benefit from access to improved sanitation and 10.5 million will receive hygiene education. The Energy Facility will provide 2.5 million people with access to electricity from renewable sources (wind, solar, hydro and biomass). It should also enable up to 7 million people to connect to the energy grid.

  3. Increasing the availability and quality of health services in Africa:

    The EU supports the health related Millennium Development Goals by improving health systems of partner countries. It also supports partnerships which eradicate poverty-related diseases and improve health such as the Global Alliance on Vaccines and Immunisation and the Global Fund to fight against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The EU has channelled more than €922 million through the Global Fund so far, which prevented 5.4 million premature deaths through vaccination. This has been complemented by other specific support - totalling €250 million over the last decade.

    The European Commission has contributed to immunisation against measles for more than 5 million children. Its support also resulted in more than 10 million consultations on reproductive health and more than 4 million births attended by health personnel since 2004. In the future, the EU will dedicate at least 20% of its aid to human development (including health).

Funding and donor ranking

Under the 10th European Development Fund (2008–2013) the European Commission has already committed appr. €12 billion for African countries.

The EU (27+1) remains the most important donor for Africa. According to the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development/Development Aid Committee data, African countries received €25.3 billion Official Development Aid (ODA) from the EU in 2011 which is more than half of the total amount of ODA being directed to Africa. Other top donors to Africa are the USA and the World Bank.

It is interesting to note that Europeans place a particularly high priority on Africa within their development agenda as demonstrated by the share of aid to Africa as part of their total aid budget. The top 10 donors by share of aid to Africa include only European countries, topped by Ireland (with 81% of its total aid to Africa) and followed by Belgium (77%), Portugal (73%) and France (63%).

Side Bar