The African Union Commission (AUC) and the European Commission will hold their annual College-to-College meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 7 April. This is the biggest political EU-Africa meeting of the year.
The Africa-EU Strategic Partnership is the formal channel through which the European Union and the African continent work together. It is enshrined in the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES): a partnership of equals, determined to tackle together issues of common concern.
Adopted by Heads of State and Government at the second EU-Africa Summit in 2007, the JAES is the first and only intercontinental partnership strategy of the EU. The current Roadmap 2014-2017 sets out concrete targets within five priority areas of cooperation agreed at the 4th EU-Africa Summit in 2014:
- Peace and Security
- Democracy, Good Governance and Human Rights
- Human Development
- Sustainable and Inclusive Developmental Growth and Continental Integration
- Global and Emerging Issues
Several cooperation frameworks govern EU cooperation with Africa, among which (i) the Cotonou Agreement with Sub-Saharan Africa, (ii) Euro-med Partnership with North Africa and the European neighbourhood policy, (iii) and the Joint Africa-EU Strategy. These frameworks include political, economic and development aspects.
Africa is the main recipient of collective EU (EU and its 28 Member States) Official Development Assistance (ODA). Approximately €141 billion were allocated between 2007–2013. The EU's development cooperation with Africa is channelled through different financial instruments, of which the European Development Fund (EDF) is the most important. Between 2014-2020, total European Commission's ODA allocations for Africa will amount to over €31 billion.
Meanwhile, around 40% of EU humanitarian aid goes for projects in Africa every year. This assistance helps save millions of lives on the African continent thanks to vital support for nutrition, healthcare, shelter for displaced populations and aid for the victims of conflicts and disasters.
The EU is also Africa's biggest trading partner and its prime source of imports and exports. Around a fifth of global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows in Africa comes from EU companies. The EU has concluded several negotiations for Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with most African regions. In particular the negotiations with West and Southern Africa were successfully concluded in July 2014 and with the East African Community in October 2015.
Since the EU-Africa Summit in April 2014, cooperation and dialogue in the areas of democracy, governance, human rights and gender has intensified. The 2016 'African Year for Human Rights' offers a unique opportunity for both sides to work together to promote and protect universal human rights. The EU provides important financial support (over €50 million in the period 2014-2017) to the effective implementation of the African human rights instruments and to the African Governance Architecture (a mechanism that contributes to harmonizing and implementing standards for democracy and human rights in the countries of Africa), as well as to civil society.
Working together on migration and mobility
Dialogue on migration features among the priorities of the JAES. At the 2014 EU-Africa Summit, a stand-alone Declaration on Migration and Mobility was adopted, focusing on the fight against trafficking in human beings, irregular migration, remittances, diaspora, mobility and labour migration, and international protection.
Since then, there has been substantive dialogue and programmatic engagement between Europe and Africa on migration:
The Valletta Summit, held on 11-12 November 2015, enabled African and EU leaders to establish a frank dialogue and a framework for cooperating on migration on the basis of a comprehensive Action Plan.
In the margins of the Valletta Summit, the EU launched the Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa (currently totals €1.8 billion).
In October 2015, a comprehensive €18 million programme was launched in support to the migration dialogue with Africa financed from the Pan-African Programme.
The Regional Development and Protection Programmes (RDPP) in North Africa and the Horn of Africa were launched and the Commission made available over €75 million for the implementation of specific projects.
- Tailor-made migration packages are being prepared and high level dialogues on migration are being launched with a first group of thirteen (13) priority African countries, with the aim of improving cooperation on sensitive issues such as return and readmission. They embody both the follow-up to the Valletta commitments and to the June and October 2015 European Council conclusions.
Cooperation with the African Union Commission
Since the Lisbon Summit in 2007, political dialogue with the African Union and its Commission has considerably expanded in various areas and levels, and successful initiatives have been developed.
The year 2015 was the biggest year ever in terms of cooperation activities with the African Union Commission (AUC). The EU (with its Member States) is the AUC's main sponsor providing more than 80% of its programme budget. In 2015, the volume of cooperation between the European Commission and the AUC amounted to €337 million.
Fighting terrorism and tackling the root causes of radicalisation, violent extremism and loss of state authority are common challenges for Africa and Europe. The African Peace Facility (APF) plays a critical role in backing African efforts by providing significant funding to African-led Peace Support Operations, to the operationalisation of the African Peace and Security Architecture, as well as to conflict prevention and early crisis response initiatives.
Since the creation of the APF in 2003, an overall amount of more than €1.7 billion has been committed to the AUC and Regional Economic Communities' activities. This has, for example, allowed a number of African-led peace operations to take place, such as the AU Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), the International Support Mission (MISCA) in the Central African Republic (CAR) and six accomplished missions in Sudan, the Comoros, the CAR and Mali. In addition, regular dialogues are held between the African Union Peace and Security Council and the European Union Political and Security Committee.
Operational cooperation has also significantly expanded in other key areas of common interests, in particular with the implementation of the Pan-African Programme financed under the Development Cooperation Instrument of the EU. This programme of €845 million for 2014-2020 provides the EU for the first time with a financing instrument for the whole African continent, enabling the EU to treat Africa as one – and on top of bilateral assistance provided under the European Development Fund and other geographical programmes under the EU Budget (the European Neighbourhood Instrument and the budget line for South Africa). 22 projects worth €250 million have already been adopted.
For more information:
IP/16/1207: The African Union Commission and the European Commission meet to address shared EU-Africa challenges
Website of the Africa-EU Partnership: http://www.africa-eu-partnership.org/