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COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL on the consolidation of EU Africa relations 1.5 billion people, 80 countries, two continents, one future

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/* COM/2010/0634 final */ COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL on the consolidation of EU Africa relations 1.5 billion people, 80 countries, two continents, one future


Brussels, 10.11.2010

COM(2010) 634 final


on the consolidation of EU Africa relations 1.5 billion people, 80 countries, two continents, one future


1. The third EU-Africa Summit, bringing together 80 Heads of State and Government, will take place in late November 2010. It will provide an opportunity to consolidate EU-Africa relations, offering the prospect of a better and more prosperous future for 1.5 billion people in 80 countries. It will also provide the opportunity to adapt the EU-Africa partnership to the significant developments that have occurred in Europe, in Africa and internationally since the last EU-Africa Summit and the adoption of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy in 2007[1].

2. In Europe, the Lisbon Treaty and the creation of the European External Action Service, working closely with European Commission services, will enable the EU to better link its external political and economic agenda. It will ensure greater consistency between the EU's Africa policy and its overall policies. It will also enable both partners to better coordinate their positions and to convey joint messages at the global level.

3. In Africa, success stories demonstrate a continuous path towards peace, stability and democracy. However poverty, poor governance, conflicts and human rights violations still persist in many places, making progress slow and uneven. But Africa has affirmed its willingness to assume responsibility for its destiny, to rely less on external aid and to tackle global challenges. Political and economic integration has progressed at regional and continental levels, with Africa increasingly speaking with one voice at the global level and with the African Union emerging as a key actor.

4. Africa’s economic growth has been impressive, with 6% average annual growth between 2006 and 2008. This trend was more than halved in 2009 due, inter alia, to the global economic and financial crisis, fluctuating commodity prices and exports, falling remittances and a substantial slowdown in Foreign Direct Investment. Forecasts however show that the African continent is likely to benefit quickly from an economic upturn and return to high growth levels.

5. Together, the EU and Africa make up a quarter of the world population and more than one third of the members of the United Nations (UN). Both Europe and Africa have been at the forefront in promoting an international regulatory framework and institutions that are more inclusive. Europe has favoured that the G-8 and G-20 reach out to Africa and give the continent opportunities to make its voice heard. The EU has also supported the reform of the International Financial Institutions and has helped secure an additional seat for Africa on the World Bank Board.

6. The EU remains Africa's most important political ally and a reliable trade and development partner. At the last EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon in 2007, both sides decided to place their relations on a new, equal and strategic footing. Both now need to go further in order to live up to this ambition, including through the effective implementation of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy. At the same time, emerging global players are strengthening their presence in Africa and South-South cooperation is increasing. These new trends represent a healthy challenge for Africa-EU relations, which call for a renewed focus on recognised strengths and added value, and for better coordination and identification of win-win situations.

7. While the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will remain at the heart of the Africa-EU Joint Strategy, there is a need to support Africa in strengthening its political and economic governance, and in reinforcing the regulatory, fiscal and business environment that allows better mobilizing of the continent's own assets in a sustainable way. Engaging with the private sector and ensuring a financial leverage effect of development assistance will be crucial in this respect. The EU's 2020 Strategy provides an inspiration for our relations with Africa, creating a framework to translate our political objectives into concrete actions to guide Africa-EU relations in the next decade.

8. Europe and Africa must build on the achievements[2] of the Joint Strategy in order to increase its impact at global, continental and regional level. The lessons learnt the past three years show that the Joint Strategy has to better fulfil its potential and to become more responsive to present and future challenges. The relationship must effectively move beyond institutions and the fragmented, development-centric approach of the past to jointly address global issues. Both sides must overcome their inconsistencies and develop channels for an effective interaction. In Africa, reinforcing subsidiarity by rationalising overlapping mandates and potentially conflicting agenda remains a challenge. In Europe, competing national interests, uncoordinated bilateral initiatives and lack of coordination between instruments undermine visibility and political traction.


(9) The EU-Africa Partnership is the only continent-to-continent strategic partnership that the EU has. It is not a donor-to-recipient partnership; it is a real comprehensive partnership, based on common interests and the achievement of mutually beneficial situations.

(10) The specific added-value of the Africa-EU Partnership is its political nature, its broad scope and its capacity to jointly address global issues and common public goods, at a time when the speed of globalization requires coordinated political responses within the frame of multilateral diplomacy. Europe and Africa share values and interests in key areas and need to translate their vision into concrete results.

(11) Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): the United Nations High Level Plenary Meeting held in New York last September reconfirmed that the MDGs remain achievable with the adequate political will, policy changes and resources from all partners. Particular attention will be paid to the targets and countries that are most off-track (most of them being in Africa) and to the people who are most vulnerable and marginalised. The Partnership on MDGs, reinforced with the recent 1 billion MDG initiative aimed at consolidating progress in those countries which performed best and help the countries most in need, will continue to play a catalytic role to stimulate policy reforms and mobilize the necessary resources for jointly agreed priority areas, building on Africa's own initiatives.

(12) Tackling threats to peace and security . This partnership has been the most successful partnership of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy so far, whether on cooperation and coordination on geographical issues or on democracy and unconstitutional changes of government in Africa, or on the development of an African Peace and Security Architecture. Africa and the EU will continue to work on their current priorities but will also need to go further, for example by formulating common positions within the United Nations system. It will be important to continue common work on such global threats to security as terrorism and transnational organized crime, including inter alia, various forms of trafficking (in particular human beings and drugs) and piracy. In the specific areas of crisis management and prevention, both continents should jointly establish a system that enables constant consultations throughout crisis cycles, from early warning to recovery action. In cooperation with the United Nations, they should also work together to improve the financial and operational capacity of the African Union, Regional Economic Communities and regional mechanisms to prevent conflicts, and to plan, deploy and manage peace support operations.

(13) Promoting governance, democracy, rule of law and human rights , in their political and economic dimensions at all levels. The EU's commitment to the respect and promotion of human rights will remain a core underlying principle of EU-Africa relations and will continue to be reflected in our agreements. Civil society and the private sector should be increasingly involved to strengthen governance agendas in all sectors, which will in turn help to create better conditions for inclusive and sustainable growth. The new Africa-EU Platform for Dialogue on Governance is a useful instrument in that regard. Cooperation on economic and global governance should be deepened, by addressing inter alia the transparent, sustainable management of natural resources and revenues, as well as the fight against fraud, corruption and the illicit flight of capital. Both sides also need to address the reform of the multilateral Democratic Governance and Human Rights system and of international organisations.

(14) Strengthening the legitimacy and efficiency of multilateral institutions . Both continents should develop a coherent vision of how they can support each other in promoting shared interests, position themselves more effectively in the global arena and cooperate in ongoing and future international negotiations so that the results reflect their respective political and strategic priorities. The EU will continue to support political initiatives towards an appropriate African role in key international organizations, institutions and fora in the context of the upcoming reforms (United Nations, International Financial Institutions, G-8 / G-20, World Trade Organisation, World Health Organisation). At the same time the EU will continue to engage with its African partners to secure the adoption of a UN General Assembly resolution that would allow the new EU representatives, in accordance with the Treaty of Lisbon, to participate effectively in the work of the UN General Assembly.

(15) Combating climate change and environmental degradation , acknowledging the important role biodiversity and ecosystem services play in this context. In the post-Copenhagen context, the EU-Africa dialogue will be instrumental in building a common vision for UNFCCC negotiations while bridging positions in Cancun and beyond, with a view to achieving a legally-binding agreement. Increased coordinating efforts between the African Union, its Member States, Regional Economic Communities and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) will be crucial in this respect. The Partnership on Climate Change will remain the platform for pursuing implementation of joint flagship initiatives such as the Global Climate Change Alliance, CLIMDEV Africa, the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel initiative in synergy with other partnerships. A dialogue on the sustainable management of natural resources, agreements on forest legislation and projects, as well as joint policy on disaster risk reduction will also be pursued.


(16) The Joint Africa-EU Strategy has therefore built a successful acquis that needs to be maintained. However, given the scale of the challenges facing the two continents, our partnership needs to evolve further.

(17) In order to ensure long-term development, more attention will be paid to how development cooperation should help creating enabling conditions for inclusive and sustainable growth. The overarching theme of the third EU-Africa Summit on "Growth, Investment and Job creation" will set the tone for cooperation between the two continents and provide long-term orientations in these areas. This theme is well aligned with the priorities identified in the EU 2020 Strategy and with the Green Paper on "Increasing the impact of EU development policy" which is being presented in parallel to this Communication.

(18) With the aim of delivering an inclusive and sustainable growth , cooperation in the coming decade should focus inter alia on high-impact activities that can leverage investments with the aim of realising the huge combined potential of our partnership. In the Green Paper, the Commission states that the EU should consider new Joint Strategies for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth in partnership with the individual or regional groupings of countries, also involving private sector stakeholders and civil society organisations. This issue is particularly relevant with respect to the EU-Africa partnership.

(19) The objective of inclusive growth should underpin EU-African initiatives for a broad-based and balanced growth and increased investment that helps reducing poverty and inequality.

- In order to work towards high-employment economies that foster social cohesion , initiatives to extend social protection coverage to the most vulnerable, to create a multi-level dialogue in particular on informal economy issues, to enhance labour market governance and to support the harmonisation process of the labour and social protection frameworks at regional level in Africa will be promoted.

- Better provision of services and infrastructures are other important issues for stronger private sector activity, as well as a source of growth and employment. The accessibility, affordability and reliability of basic services in transport, health, communication and finance in particular are essential preconditions for the growth and development of all other sectors of the economy. The Africa-EU Partnership on Infrastructure provides a strategic framework to address Africa's missing links, supported by the Infrastructure Trust Fund as innovative instrument for blending grants and loans. The EU will continue to address the infrastructure gap, by stepping up its focus on energy, ICT, water and transport, while simultaneously fostering the role of the private sector as the main engine for growth and infrastructure financing. In complement, initiatives towards improved regulatory and legal frameworks will continue to be supported at national and regional level to create conditions for investment and proper market functioning.

- Cooperation on skills, innovation and entrepreneurship should be strengthened given its unique potential to fast-track Africa's development and deliver a tangible impact across all socio-economic sectors. In the field of S&T, the development of ICTs and affordable e-services in Africa will be a core objective. In the field of space, initiatives such as GMES and Africa or satellite navigation (EGNOS and Gallileo) will be further promoted. In the field of higher education and training, programmes such as Erasmus Mundus, Media Mundus, Edulink Nyerere, Youth in Action, Marie Curie or "Tuning Educational Structures" initiatives are expected to contribute to the agenda of smart and inclusive growth, as will the cooperation among professionals of the culture sector. In the process of setting up the Pan-African University, the EU will encourage best practice sharing with the EIT on how to integrate fully the knowledge triangle (Education, Business and Research).

- Cooperation on migration and mobility will focus on the ways to ensure legal migration, including circular migration, in direct connection with labour market requirements and employment opportunities in both continents. It will also aim to reduce irregular migration flows and address the issue of particularly vulnerable groups such as refugees, asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors. It will address the challenge of how to involve African diasporas more effectively in development process. Initiatives such as the African Remittances Institute, the Migration Observatory, the Diaspora Outreach Initiative and the Human Trafficking Initiative will be promoted in that respect.

(20) The objective of sustainable growth should underpin EU-African initiatives for the development of efficient, green and competitive economies.

- Regional integration in all its aspects is a powerful driver for stability, growth and development. Many African countries share common resources, such as natural resources, and are faced by equally common challenges, such as lack of infrastructure or low agricultural productivity. Integration can be mutually beneficial and induce a positive agenda of reforms, enhanced cooperation, and improved security. Regional integration can help African countries to reap the benefits of economies of scale, stronger competition, and more domestic and foreign investment. Trade also acts as a catalyst for private sector activity and investment by contributing to a favourable investment environment and providing access to markets and essential inputs. A managed market opening that takes into account the needs and capacities of developing economies and is combined with appropriate national policies and support, has delivered demonstrable results globally. In this respect, trade agreements can help improve economic governance by contributing to the establishment of a stable regulatory framework for the economy. The EU therefore remains committed to further deepen its long-standing trade relations with Africa with a view to contributing to the latter's long-term prosperity and well-being, notably via the conclusion of the Economic Partnership Agreements.

- The area of raw materials can be a clear domain of mutually beneficial cooperation to develop the sustainable development and supply of raw materials . Joint cooperation could be fostered and extended to the private sector to create mutually beneficial opportunities for both continents, for example on the basis of the Commission Communication on raw materials and the AU Commission's Mining Vision 2050. Specific actions will focus on governance (including EITI), infrastructure and investments, and geological knowledge and skills. Sustainable consumption and production also relies on small and medium-sized enterprises, to increase resource efficiency for greener production and develop more competitive companies. Building on African initiatives such as the African Union 10-Year Framework Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production, the creation of a SWITCH Africa Programme could be considered to support long-term sustainable economic growth and competitiveness.

- With respect to agriculture , EU-Africa cooperation will continue in the framework of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme. Priority will be given to intensification approaches for small-scale farmers that are sustainable, ecologically efficient and respect the diverse functions of agriculture. Geographical indications and organic farming are areas for further discussion with the African Union Commission. High value crops could be produced, which would enhance sustainable smallholder production with the potential to create employment and income for rural populations, while providing environmental services and contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation. The same approach will be pursued in the area of fisheries. Moreover, the EU should support the development of internationally agreed principles for responsible investment in agricultural land. It should also encourage governments in partner countries, farmers' organisations and other stakeholders to make informed choices that ensure sustainability of foreign investments so as to maximise the social, economic and environmental benefits for the country. EU-Africa cooperation will also continue as regards the harmonisation of fragmented sanitary and phytosanitary frameworks. Likewise, proper consideration should be given to the promotion of responsible fishing practices and fisheries management, the introduction of measures to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and to ensure full traceability of fishery products.

- With respect to sustainable energy and its efficient use , the Green Paper which is being presented in parallel to this Communication raises the issue that the EU and developing countries and/or regional groupings should act together, in the context of existing partnerships, to put into place concrete Joint Programmes to progressively provide sustainable energy to all citizens. Such programmes, involving highly leveraged EU development and climate change finance, EU and developing countries, the energy industry and EU financial institutions, could aim at identifying a timetable for joint actions, and include reforms, both in terms of investment protection, taxation and regional power collaboration. They should build on existing initiatives such as the EU-Africa Energy Partnership or the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Program.


(21) The speed of change in Africa has never been greater. Moving towards a genuine EU-Africa partnership based not only on development cooperation but on aid as a catalyst for inclusive and sustainable growth will be our common challenge for the next decade.

(22) In Lisbon, the EU and Africa agreed to act together on the basis of shared values, shared agendas and shared objectives. Both sides now need to do more to translate this ambition into coordinated approaches, concrete cooperation, and - where possible - into aligned positions in the UN bodies, in IFIs and in major international negotiations. The EU will reach out more proactively to Africa in this regard, and looks forward to Africa taking up this offer in a constructive and reciprocal spirit.

(23) In this respect, both sides need to do more to overcome the current fragmentation of policy frameworks and financial instruments to promote greater effectiveness and visibility in their cooperation. Better synergies between EU policies have to be found to ensure a real "policy coherence for development". Increased complementarities between EU policies towards Sub-Saharan Africa and the Mediterranean region need to be ensured. Reinforced collaboration between existing EU and national instruments, through the adaptation of the relevant policies, and legal and financial frameworks (currently European Development Fund, European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument and Development Cooperation Instrument) need to be explored. The governance and the effectiveness of our partnership has to be strengthened inter alia through an enhanced political and policy dialogue, an efficient implementation architecture, the active involvement of key stakeholders as well as the provision of adequate resources including through the gradual establishment of a pan-African financial support programme. Better internal coordination with Member States and more effective cooperation with African partners and with emerging donors is essential. Better communication is also necessary in order to raise citizens' awareness and increase stakeholders' ownership of the Partnership, thereby improving the knowledge and perception of the collective efforts of both continents.

(24) In order to deliver better results, the next Action Plan will give priorities to activities that:

- Have a clear regional, continental or global dimension, which is where the added value of the Joint Strategy lies;

- Have a clear added value, are focused and streamlined, and reinforce complementarity and coherence with existing initiatives and fora, and align with African strategic priorities, their organisations and structures and their mechanisms at continental and regional levels;

- Have a proven buy-in of a critical mass of competent actors on both sides, including the necessary political, human and financial resources.

(25) During the next Summit, both Europe and Africa need to develop a realistic vision for their cooperation in the years to come, translating the paradigm "from donorship to partnership" into the next Action Plan. Together with the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank, they need to identify areas for high-impact projects. They must exploit mutually beneficial situations that reconcile African and European political interests and economic priorities. This should provide enormous opportunities for all of our 1.5 billion citizens.

[1] The Joint Africa-EU Strategy is articulated around 8 thematic partnerships: Peace and Security; Democratic Governance and Human Rights; Trade, Regional Integration and Infrastructure; Millennium Development Goals; Energy; Climate Change; Migration, Mobility and Employment; Science, Information Society and Space.