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Document 52007DC0357

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council - From Cairo to Lisbon – The EU-Africa Strategic Partnership {SEC(2007) 855} {SEC(2007) 856}

/* COM/2007/0357 final */


Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council - From Cairo to Lisbon – The EU-Africa Strategic Partnership {SEC(2007) 855} {SEC(2007) 856} /* COM/2007/0357 final */


Brussels, 27.6.2007

COM(2007) 357 final


From Cairo to Lisbon – The EU-Africa Strategic Partnership

{SEC(2007) 855}{SEC(2007) 856}


From Cairo to Lisbon – The EU-Africa Strategic Partnership


1.1. New realities

Africa is now at the heart of international politics, but what is genuinely new is that Africa – and the African Union (AU) in particular –is emerging, not as a development issue, but as a political actor in its own right. It is becoming increasingly clear that that Africa matters – as a political voice, as an economic force and as a huge source of human, cultural, natural and scientific potential. There are a number of reasons to explain this, ranging from the institutional (the African Union) to the political (reforms and democratisation processes), from the economic (a raw material boom, attractive investment opportunities, sustained economic growth on the continent, in recent years averaging 5.5% with nine countries in 2005 near or above the 7 percent growth threshold needed for sustained poverty reduction[1]) to the strategic (global power realignments, involvement of an increasing range of international actors in Africa), from the social (globalisation of socio-cultural norms, mass media) to the demographic (Africa soon having as many inhabitants as India or China, increasing mobility and migration within Africa and between Africa and the EU) – all closely related to a context of intensifying globalisation.

Meanwhile, the EU too has changed – its membership has expanded to 27 States, its role in the world has developed and it has adopted ambitious common policies on security, energy, climate change and innovation. Europeans have recognised that African economic prosperity is essential for European prosperity and acknowledge the need for a more comprehensive partnership and more coherent policies towards Africa. Future partnership has to be based on jointly identified mutual and complementary interests and benefits. The EU must continue working and supporting African Government primary responsibility and continue supporting Africa-led and Africa-owned approaches. Finally, the world has also changed with the forces of global capital and financial markets, climate change, global media and information and communications technology, trans-national terrorism and organised crime, and global pandemics all making the world smaller by the day. The need for common global responses is therefore more vital than ever before. The EU and Africa are old partners, but in a world transformed.

1.2. An EU-Africa strategic partnership

In this world transformed, the EU remains an important partner of Africa – in terms of trade (the EU remains the first economic partner of Africa, with exportation of merchandise amounting to € 91.6 billion and importation reaching € 125.6 billion in 2005), investment and official development assistance (ODA) by far Africa's most important (in 2006 the EU collective ODA amounted to € 48 billion). However, it is not Africa's only partner, and not its only source of finance, aid and trade - China, for example, has rapidly emerged as Africa's third most important trade partner, with total trade amounting to about € 43 billion in 2006 (up from € 30 billion in 2005) and with 23% of all Chinese oil imports now coming from Africa. This means that if the EU wants to remain a privileged partner and make the most of its relations with Africa, it must be willing to reinforce, and in some areas reinvent, the current relationship – institutionally, politically and culturally. The adoption of the EU's Africa Strategy in 2005 was an important first step but it is now time to move on from a strategy for Africa towards a political partnership with Africa . In 2007, the EU and Africa are therefore working together to strengthen their cooperation at the political level and lay the foundation for a long-term strategic partnership, going beyond development cooperation, beyond Africa, beyond fragmentation and beyond institutions.

- The Partnership will go beyond development cooperation , in the sense that – while the EU will continue to fully support Africa's development – the agenda will be opened up to include all political matters of common concern and common interest. It will also better and more systematically seek to exploit the contributions that other policies, such as trade or research, can make to the partnership. At the same time, the nature of the relationship will go beyond the donor-recipient relationship of the past and reflect a political partnership of equals.

- The Partnership will go beyond Africa , in the sense that the EU-Africa dialogue should not exclusively be a forum for discussions on "African" matters. The EU and Africa will look beyond Africa and Europe towards the rest of the world.

- The Partnership will go beyond fragmentation , in the sense that EU and African national, sub-regional, regional and continental frameworks, policies and instruments should better support Africa's continental integration and cooperation. Regional integration shall be stimulated and supported as a crucial building block in the continental integration process. Regional integration will also support the creation of larger and more integrated markets that are essential to attract investment, increase productive capacities and enhance regulatory convergence. Economic integration is a key component of that process and will be underpinned by a strengthened development- oriented trading relationship between the EU and Africa. The Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) will be a key tool in that respect. The partnership will promote a clearer division of roles and responsibilities between different players on the African side, including the African Union and NEPAD- its socio-economic programme- and the regional organisations, and a stronger national and regional support for the pan-African institutions. The EU side, meanwhile will build on the emergence of the AU as the central political player in Africa and increasingly treat Africa as one .

- Finally, the Partnership will go beyond institutions , in the sense that the EU-Africa dialogue and partnership will be taken beyond Brussels and Addis Ababa to a wider spectrum of players. This should be about consulting civil society, but also about genuinely trying to make a greater number of stakeholders in the EU-Africa dialogue, including civil society and youth organisations, support the same objectives and pull in the same direction. Going "beyond institutions" should also be about make better and more systematic use of the experience, know-how and resources of the private sector in both continents in taking forward the objectives of the partnership.


2.1. From an EU Strategy for Africa (2005) …

The historic first EU-Africa Summit was held in Cairo in 2000. The Cairo Declaration and the Cairo Plan of Action signed at this Summit contained a number of ambitious commitments, including on the return of stolen cultural goods and on Africa's external debt. More importantly perhaps, the Cairo Summit set in motion a more structured political dialogue between the EU and Africa, with regular meetings of senior officials and Ministers.

However, the real turning point in the EU-Africa dialogue was the launch, in 2001, of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) – a truly Africa-owned and Africa-driven definition of what Africa's political future should look like. Even more important was the creation of the African Union (AU) the following year. Ongoing integration processes, the increasingly important role of Africa's regional organisations (RECs) and the emergence of the AU as a central international actor and unified political voice for Africa has been crucial, not only for Africa, but also for the EU-Africa partnership. In this new positive climate, plans were made to hold a second EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon in 2003. For reasons to do with participation, and amidst controversy, this Summit was postponed.

In many ways 2005 became the international year for Africa. A number of high-level events were held and important international initiatives were launched, including major commitments on aid and debt relief at the G8 Gleneagles Summit and, following the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, the adoption by the EU Council of Ministers of a package of measures and commitments to increase ODA and enhance aid effectiveness and policy coherence for development (PCD) in order to help Africa and the developing world at large to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. In October 2005 – during a joint meeting with the AU Commission – the European Commission adopted its Communication on an EU Africa Strategy. Two months later, in December 2005, the European Council endorsed many of the proposals made in the Communication and adopted a first common, coherent and comprehensive EU Africa Strategy subtitled Towards a Strategic Partnership . The aim of this EU Strategy was to establish a single framework for all EU players and confirm Africa's development as one of the EU's top political priorities.

Working on all three levels of the partnership – national, regional and pan-African – the Strategy was based on three central assumptions: (i) without good governance, rule of law, security and peace, no lasting development progress is possible; (ii) regional integration, trade and interconnectivity are necessary factors to promote economic growth; (iii) if Africa is to achieve the MDGs, more support is needed on issues with a direct impact on living standards, such as health, education and food security.

In 2006 and 2007 the EU has collectively been implementing the policies and action outlined in the Africa Strategy. On a policy level, the EU has further integrated the key principles of ownership, partnership, responsibility and mutual accountability in all its relations with Africa. On an operational level, the EU has launched an ambitious EU-Africa Infrastructure Partnership and an EU Governance Initiative, increased funding for AU-led peace support operations (such as the AMIS mission in Darfur) under the African Peace Facility (APF) and provided support for the AU's Nyerere programme for student exchanges and opened up a window in the European Erasmus Mundus programme for African universities, professors and graduate students. The EU Strategy has also allowed stronger internal EU policy coherence and better coordination of Commission and Member States' policies towards Africa.

2.2. ... to a Joint EU-Africa Strategy

The EU Strategy for Africa has been very useful in mobilising more, and more coherent, EU support for Africa-led development efforts. It has been useful in two ways: as a policy framework/ acquis and as a political process. It has made the EU a better, more united and more effective partner and will continue to be a key policy document, but it was also just a first step. From the very beginning there was criticism from some quarters that the Africa Strategy had been developed without sufficient consultations and retained elements of a traditional, unilateral donor-recipient approach. At the 5th EU-Africa Ministerial meeting in December 2005 in Bamako it was therefore agreed that the next step should be for the EU and Africa to take the partnership to a new, strategic level and develop a Joint EU-Africa Strategy – a partnership with Africa, rather than a strategy for Africa. In this strategic partnership African states and organisations would have the primary responsibility for their political future and development and – while the EU would continue to provide in development assistance in order to ensure that the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) are met in Africa and globally – the relationship should gradually become more political, more global and more equal. This position was subsequently confirmed by the December 2006 European Council and the January 2007 AU Summit.

In parallel with implementation of the EU's Africa Strategy – monitored by the Joint Implementation Matrix – work therefore began on developing a Joint EU-Africa Strategy. Building on work undertaken in 2006, the process was re-launched in 2007 with a series of meetings to agree on the main principles, objectives and political priorities of the Joint Strategy and the Lisbon Summit. In these meetings, the EU was represented by the Commission, the German, Portuguese and Slovenian Presidencies and the Council Secretariat. The AU was represented by the AU Commission, its current chair (Ghana in 2007) and, often, also the countries that are chef de file for political issues in the context of the Cairo dialogue[2]. On 15 May, the EU-Africa Ministerial meeting in Brussels "welcomed and endorsed" an outline of the Joint Strategy. Work will continue during the summer and autumn of 2007 to finalise the Joint Strategy, the first of a series of Action Plans and the agenda for the Lisbon Summit itself.

This institutional process has been backed up by a large-scale consultation exercise (including on the website) to collect input for the drafting from a broad range of non-institutional stakeholders in Europe, Africa and beyond. Regular discussions have also taken place with representatives from the European Parliament, the Pan-African Parliament and stakeholders in African and European civil society. All these processes should be improved and intensified in the run-up to the Lisbon Summit.


The postponement of the EU-Africa Summit in 2003 was a major political disappointment and it is welcome that the EU-Africa partnership is now back at the highest political level – where it belongs. This Summit is an opportunity for the political leaders of the two continents to make strong action-oriented political commitments on current key international issues, notably climate change, migration, sustainable energy, governance and security, and to set the political course for the EU-Africa strategic partnership. Moreover, the EU and Africa can also use this opportunity to demonstrate the openness of their dialogue and reach out to other old and new partners of Africa by inviting them to participate in the Summit.

At the Summit, African and EU Heads of State and Government (representing 80 countries and almost 1.5 billion people) will sign a Lisbon Declaration – an EU-African consensus on values, common interest and strategic objectives.

African and EU leaders will also adopt a Joint Strategy , which should be a short and focused document, as a political vision and guideline for the future of the EU-Africa strategic partnership.

3.1. Objectives

The Joint Strategy will serve to pursue four main political objectives, each of which represents a dimension of the current EU-Africa partnership:

- To reinforce and elevate the EU-Africa political partnership, making it into a genuine partnership of equals;

- To continue to promote peace and security, governance and human rights, trade and regional and continental integration in Africa, and other key development issues;

- To jointly address global challenges;

- To facilitate and promote a broad-based and wide-ranging people-centred partnership for all people in Africa and Europe.

3.2. Policy Initiatives

At the Summit, Heads of State and Government could launch a number of specific flagship initiatives that give substance to the partnership and show Africa, the world and the EU's own citizens how the EU is constructively taking forward the EU-Africa partnership. These should include:

(a) An EU-Africa Partnership on Energy

On both continents, energy security, access to secure, sustainable and affordable energy services, and the sustainable and efficient management of energy resources are prerequisites for development and prosperity. Even though Africa has abundant energy resources, it currently has the world's lowest rate of access to modern energy. 600 million Africans do not have access to electricity, and use wood for cooking and heating. 400 000 Africans, mainly women and children, die every year of respiratory diseases related to the indoor air pollution from using wood and other traditional fuels. The investment needs are huge – according to the World Bank, ensuring 100% access to electricity in Sub-Sahara Africa by 2030 would require an annual investment of € 8.27 billion. Already now Europe and Africa are closely interlinked in the energy sector: Europe benefits from African energy exports, and Africa benefits from European technical and financial support in the energy sector. The increasing global concerns on energy security, energy access and climate change have clearly reinforced the links between the energy future of the two continents, and created the need for joint approaches.

Against this background, the envisaged Africa-EU Energy Partnership will be an innovative platform for an enhanced political energy dialogue between Africa and the EU. Via the Energy Partnership, Africa and Europe will share knowledge and experience, develop common policy responses and stimulate specific action that addresses the energy challenges of the 21st century. The Partnership will address security and diversification of energy supply, both for Africa and Europe, promote access to affordable, clean and efficient energy services, stimulate energy markets and aim to increase financial and human resources in support of Africa's sustainable energy development, while promoting enabling frameworks for investments as well as market transparency and stability. It will involve key players, such as the private sector and International Financing Institutions, and find ways to include emerging donors' in the dialogue on energy sector development in Africa.

Activities will work towards the achievement of the following concrete objectives: to strengthen the existing Africa-EU dialogue on access to energy and energy security, to scale up investment in energy infrastructure, including promotion of renewable energy solutions and energy efficiency, to amplify the development-oriented use of oil and gas revenues, to promote transparency and enabling frameworks as well as to mainstream climate change into development cooperation. The Partnership should build on existing instruments, such as the overall framework of the EU-Africa Infrastructure Partnership and its Trust Fund, the European Union Energy Initiative (EUEI) and its ACP Energy Facility (currently € 220 million), the national and regional indicative programmes under the 10th EDF and the thematic programme on environment, management of natural resources including energy.

(b) An EU-Africa Partnership on Climate Change

Climate change is affecting all countries, but Least Developed Countries and other vulnerable developing countries are expected to be hit earliest and hardest. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 4th Assessment Report regional analysis for Africa concludes that it is one of the most vulnerable continents to climate variability and change because of multiple stresses and low adaptive capacity. The African continent will be particularly affected in terms of food security, sustainable water supply and extreme weather phenomena such as floods and droughts. The IPCC Report also shows that by 2020, between 75 and 250 million people are projected to be exposed to an increase of water stress due to climate change and rain-fed agriculture could in some countries be reduced by up to 50%. If continuing unabated, climate change poses a serious risk to poverty reduction and threatens to undo years of development efforts. In the Addis Ababa Declaration on Climate Change and Development in Africa of January 2007, AU Leaders committed themselves inter alia to integrating climate change into national and sub-regional development policies, programmes and activities. The Chairperson of the AU Commission was mandated to take a lead role in facilitating Africa's participation in the climate negotiations. This Declaration is a good basis for an AU-EU Climate Change Partnership.

The Partnership will be a forum for dialogue and exchange of views on the concrete actions to respond to climate change action to respond to climate change. The EU-Africa partnership will be a privileged channel for holding deliberations on a shared EU-Africa vision.

The partnership will also strengthen practical cooperation in the following areas: adaptation, disaster risk reduction, halting deforestation, promoting participation of developing countries in the global carbon market (including through the Clean Development Mechanism), promoting and deploying environmentally friendly technologies, as well as improving the monitoring of environmental effects of climate change, including through space-based systems.

The partnership will be supported through a Global Climate Change Alliance that the Commission will soon propose.

(c) An EU-Africa Partnership on Migration, Mobility and Employment

Migration and mobility are intrinsic components of globalisation and should be viewed and treated as potentially positive phenomena. At the Tripoli ministerial conference on migration and development of November 2006, EU and African Ministers committed to "a partnership between countries of origin, transit and destination to better manage migration in a comprehensive, holistic and balanced manner, in a spirit of shared responsibility and cooperation". The EU and Africa work closely to implement the conclusions of the conference, covering a wide spectrum of areas, ranging from promoting the links between migration and development and facilitating legal migration, to jointly addressing illegal migration, including through cooperation on return and readmission, and fighting human trafficking, where cooperation will be further stepped up with special attention given to protecting the victims. To strengthen the evidence base of migration policies of African governments, and building on existing initiatives across the continent, the EU and Africa will cooperate to establish a network of Africa-based migration observatories that will collect, analyse and disseminate information on migration flows within Africa and between Africa and the EU. The further development of migration profiles will be promoted. Africa and the EU will specifically address the issue of migration of skilled labour such as health workers, and seek to minimise the negative impact of European recruitment on Africa, with lack of health workforce capacity now recognised as a major barrier to progress towards the MDGs[3]. Indeed, in Ethiopia a recent World Bank survey of recent graduates from medical and nursing schools indicated that 70% of doctors and 62% of nurses plan to leave the country "whenever they get the chance" and it is estimated that at present some 80 000 qualified people leave the African continent each year, including 23 000 executives or professionals. Where needed, similar initiatives could also be considered for other sectors. In addition, partners will look into ways to facilitate the transfer of migrants' remittances and make them more conducive to development, while respecting their private nature.

To promote and better manage mobility and labour migration within Africa and – where appropriate – between Africa and the EU, the two sides will cooperate to strengthen African migration information and management capacities (inter alia building on the model currently under development with the government of Mali and on the experience acquired through the implementation of various labour migration projects in North Africa). Ways to facilitate circular migration between Africa and the EU will also be examined with the aim of creating win-win situations for countries of origin and destination as well as the migrants themselves. The EU and Africa will encourage the movement of skilled African labour between countries of origin and destination through the creation of partnerships between EU and African institutes such as universities and hospitals.

As the employment deficit is one of the key challenges of Africa, and recognising that migration and mobility management initiatives should be put into a wider perspective, the two sides should join forces in view of creating more and better jobs for Africa , in particular its youth and women. Drawing from its own experience, the EU should support Africa to set up and implement strategies and policies that stimulate job creation in the formal economy, including by improving the investment climate and building strong, responsive, transparent and accountable labour market institutions. Creating more productive jobs and decent work in Africa will offer Africa's young women and men a future, and a genuine alternative for undocumented, uncertain and often dangerous journeys in search for irregular employment in the EU. Cooperation in this area should have clear objectives, and be built on the main pillars of development policy and linked to the PCD agenda, including trade, agriculture, fisheries, research and ICTs, infrastructure, economic integration, investment, ODA and migrant remittances.

(d) An EU-Africa Partnership on Democratic Governance

Democratic governance is an integral part of the EU's and the AU's core values. The EU and the AU have both undertaken initiatives in this area, such as the new Pan-African governance architecture, the APRM, the Governance Initiative for Africa and the ACP countries and the Governance Facility for the Neighbourhood countries. Interaction between the Pan-African Parliament and the European Parliament is developing.

The EU and the AU now need to initiate a more ambitious and more comprehensive continent-to-continent dialogue on all governance aspects.

To this end the AU and the EU should jointly launch a Governance Forum , with the involvement of non-state actors, national and continental parliaments, local authorities and regional organisations, to enhance their dialogue on governance issues of mutual concern, such as human rights, democratic principles, the rule of law, management of natural resources, the fight against corruption and fraud, transparent and accountable management of public funds, institutional development and reform, situations of fragility, global governance, security sector reform, etc, with a view to root firmly democratic governance principles at global, continental, national and local level, but also to feed into high-level EU-AU dialogues on democratic governance issues. In order to facilitate more effective support to the Pan-African governance architecture and policy coordination efforts , the EU will explore new avenues to pull Community and Member States funding through an EU fund or through Joint EU contributions to existing financial instruments and trust funds.

(e) A Joint EU-Africa political and institutional architecture

These four sectoral partnerships will be complemented and reinforced by a binding commitment to a more comprehensive and more structured political dialogue between the leaders of the 80 states of the EU and Africa, as well as between the democratic institutions and citizens of both continents. To this effect, the EU and Africa should strengthen the dialogue between all EU and AU institutions, with a leading role to play for the European Parliament and the Pan-African Parliament . In addition, the EU and Africa could when appropriate also hold sectoral Ministerial meetings and develop effective institutional mechanisms for a political dialogue covering all the levels (global, continental, regional, national and local) of the partnership. These efforts will build on the existing biannual Ministerial Troika meetings and the active EU-AU Commission-to-Commission dialogue , but in particular on the global level (which includes the possibility of coordination of positions and agendas in multilateral organisations and settings) new mechanisms may be required. Finally, and reflecting the ambitions of the strategic partnership, leaders of the EU and Africa should also commit to hold Summits every two years, alternately in the EU and Africa. This overarching political partnership will be formally launched in the "Lisbon Declaration".

These five initiatives, which are the EU's proposals for flagship issues for the Lisbon Summit, will find their place – together with programmes and activities in other areas of common interest – in a Action Plan which will be attached to the Joint Strategy.

A first Action Plan covering joint activities in the short to medium term (in the two years until the next Summit) – will be prepared for the Lisbon Summit. In order to make the Lisbon Summit the success and milestone it promises to be, the EU and the AU must collectively make this first Action Plan an ambitious list of undertakings.

3.3. Joint Paper

A more complete overview of the priorities and objectives of the partnership is presented in a Joint Paper , prepared together by the European Commission and the Council Secretariat: Beyond Lisbon: Making the EU-Africa Strategic Partnership Work .

This Joint Paper, together with this Communication, constitutes the contribution of the EU to the Joint Strategy, which will be negotiated and finalised with the African partners during the summer and autumn of 2007.

[1] Angola, Cape Verde, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Sudan, and Tanzania.

[2] Algeria (peace and security); Egypt (cultural goods); Nigeria (debt); Senegal (migration); Tunisia (aid); Libya (food security); Morocco (environment); South Africa (trade and regional integration). Note that, although not a member of the AU, Morocco has participated in the meetings as the chef de file for the environment.

[3] COM(2006) 870: A European Programme for Action to tackle the critical shortage of health workers in developing countries (2007-2013).