Africa-Europe: 80 countries, two continents in partnership for a better future

Published: 10 November 2010 y., Wednesday

Ahead of the Africa-EU Summit taking place from 29-30 November in Libya, the Commission presents today its proposals for a consolidation of the Africa-EU relations. Building on the existing Joint Africa-EU Strategy launched in 2007, the Commission details common challenges where progress has been made and which still have to be jointly addressed, such as the poverty eradication, peace and security, democracy and human rights, global governance and climate change. While the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will remain at the heart of the Africa-EU Joint Strategy, the Commission recognizes that there is a need to support Africa in strengthening its political and economic governance to allow better mobilization of the continent's own assets in a sustainable way. In that spirit, the Commission proposes to focus on initiatives that could help to trigger inclusive and sustainable growth in the long-term. These proposals will contribute to shaping the Action Plan on the implementation of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy that will be adopted during the Summit.

High Representative and Vice President of the Commission, Cathy Ashton said: "Strengthening and deepening EU-Africa relations is a key priority during my mandate. Africa is not just a beneficiary of the EU, but it is an important partner on a number of major regional and international issues of common interest such as regional security -- where we work together in the fight against piracy and cooperate in bringing peace and stability to the region -- and global governance such as climate change."

"Three years after the launch of a unique Partnership, it is time to consolidate EU-Africa relations, offering the prospect of a better more prosperous future for 1.5 billion people in 80 countries" said Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development. "In order to ensure long-term development, more attention will be paid to how development cooperation should help to create enabling conditions for inclusive and sustainable growth. This will help to alleviate poverty and to confirm Africa's political and economic dynamism on the global scene."

The economic, environmental and food crisis, the emergence of new donors but also the new EU institutional framework require adjustments in the EU-Africa partnership. Europe and Africa will build on the achievements of the Joint Strategy in order to increase its impact at global, continental and regional level.

EU-Africa: addressing common challenges together

The specific added value of the Africa-EU Partnership is its political nature, its broad scope and capacity to jointly address global issues. Further cooperation will be pursued within the different thematic partnerships towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals; tackling threats to peace and security, including common work on emerging threats such as terrorism, piracy or various forms of trafficking; promoting governance, democracy, rule of law and Human rights; strengthening the legitimacy and efficiency of multilateral institutions: and combating climate change and environmental degradation.

EU-Africa: a forward looking partnership

Given the scale of the challenges facing the two continents, the Commission recognizes that the EU-Africa Partnership needs to evolve further. It proposes to focus development cooperation in support of inclusive and sustainable growth in Africa. Cooperation in the coming decade should focus on high-impact activities that can leverage investments with the aim of realising the huge potential of our partnership.

Inclusive growth relates to reduction of poverty and inequalities. Development cooperation should be particularly focused on ensuring a healthy and well educated population, better provision of services and infrastructures, skills, innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as issues such as migration. The objective is to work together in partnership to put in place a conducive environment to foster investment, trade, and jobs creation.

Sustainable growth relates to the development of efficient, green and competitive economies. Africa has a vast untapped renewable energy potential, ranging from hydro, to solar, wind, geothermal and biomass which could be used to ensure millions of people have access to electricity. Sustainable growth also includes cooperation on strengthening regional integration and trade in Africa; supporting the sustainable management of raw materials, shifting support to agriculture towards small-scale farmers producing in an environmentally-friendly way; and implementing joint programmes to provide clean energy to all citizens.

Next steps

The Communication of the Commission on the consolidation of EU-Africa relations will contribute to the upcoming third Africa-EU Summit. The overarching theme on "Growth, Investment and Job creation" will set the tone for cooperation between the two continents and provide long-term orientations in these areas. A joint and realistic Action plan will be adopted giving priorities to activities that have a clear regional, continental or global dimension, have a clear added value and have a proven critical mass.


At their Lisbon Summit, 80 Heads of States and Government from Europe and Africa launched the Joint Africa EU Strategic Partnership to pursue common interests and strategic objectives together, beyond the focus of traditional development policy. The EU-Africa Partnership is the only continent-to-continent strategic partnership that the EU has. Eight thematic partnerships ensure the operational follow-up: Peace and security , Democratic governance and human rights, Trade, regional integration and infrastructure, Millennium development goals (MDGs), Energy, Climate change, Migration, mobility and employment, Science, information society and space.

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