European Union

Redefining our relationship with Africa

Redefining our relationship with Africa

As in large parts of the MENA region, poverty, food insecurity, ill-governance and conflict continue to plague parts of Africa today. But Africa is also a continent of opportunity and growth, rich in natural resources and agricultural potential. Representative and accountable government is becoming more the norm, and the call for strong institutions, not strong men, is reflected in increasingly credible, albeit in some cases contested, elections. In a world in which key universal values are being questioned, Africa’s potential is significant. The secret of success in Africa lies in triggering a virtuous circle in the development-security-migration nexus, bearing in mind the tight interconnections between North and sub-Saharan Africa, as well as between the Horn and the Persian Gulf.

For the EU, Africa has a huge potential for trade, energy and investment, which at the same time is what the continent needs. Likewise, while Europe is facing a daunting demographic predicament, Africa is living through a youth bulge which is expected to persist for most of this century. The resulting equilibrium between demand and supply of migratory forces could either benefit both continents or generate economic strain and political unrest. The EU can help unlock Africa’s potential by developing the right mix of migration, mobility and integration policies; by bolstering security cooperation with the UN, the African Union and other African partners; by supporting education and sustainable development; by bridging fair trade and economic integration objectives; and by favouring sustainable agriculture and green growth. This can drive Africa’s entrepreneurial spirit, and unleash faster, more balanced and sustainable growth while offering more attractive prospects than those provided by other external players. The post-2015 agenda and the 2015 global climate deal could help the EU establish a fairer partnership with Africa, together with a revised post-2020 EU-ACP Partnership.

The EU can help unlock Africa’s potential by developing the right mix of migration and mobility policies; by bolstering security cooperation with the United Nations, the African Union and other African partners; and by bridging fair trade and economic integration objectives.

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