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Cooperation and dialogue between the EU, Africa and China

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Cooperation and dialogue between the EU, Africa and China

A tripartite partnership between the European Union (EU), Africa and China should contribute to meeting the global challenges related to development and to better adapting cooperation strategies to Africa’s needs.


Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 17 October 2008 entitled The EU, Africa and China: Towards trilateral dialogue and cooperation [COM(2008) 654 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The Commission proposes a new tripartite approach to reinforce cooperation and dialogue between the European Union (EU), Africa and China. The Commission recognises that adding to bilateral partnerships in order to promote the stable and sustainable development of Africa is of mutual interest.

The EU, Africa and China should base this cooperation on common objectives, which are defined progressively and consistent with national and regional development strategies.

This new approach should lead to joint working on questions of development and increasing the effectiveness of aid. Sharing experience and good practice should contribute to this aim, in particular with regard to financial instruments, Official Development Assistance (ODA) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Firstly, the partnership could concentrate on five priority objectives:

  • reinforcing security and support for peace-keeping operations;
  • developing affordable and sustainable infrastructures to reinforce interconnectivity and regional integration. The EU-Africa partnership for infrastructures (FR) could contribute to this objective;
  • protection of the environment and management of natural resources within a context of economic and commercial growth. The Commission proposes to cooperate with the African Union (AU) and African countries in order to promote sustainable management, technology transfers and investments;
  • the increase in agricultural production, the quality of production and food security, in particular with a view to meeting the objectives of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (FR).

The tripartite partnership is an extension of bilateral political dialogues between the African Union (AU), the EU and China, as well as dialogue between the EU and China. The partnership will be based on regular strategic dialogue as well as specific consultations.

The Commission proposes to establish a network of exchange and information between the competent national and regional authorities. Organising an annual coordination meeting of development partners should contribute to the evaluation of priorities for cooperation whilst integrating the initiatives of international organisations, funding providers and civil society.


During the summit held in Lisbon in 2007, the heads of state and government of the EU and African countries adopted a new joint strategic partnership. This strategy provides a global framework for strengthening relations between the EU and Africa and an action plan for the period 2008-2010. The EU is the largest provider of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and the first commercial partner for Africa. This partnership also aims to establish synergies with other partners and international funding providers.

Cooperation between China and Africa is mainly directed at commercial exchange, investment, infrastructure projects and aid in social domains and training. This partnership was reinforced by the adoption of a new strategy in 2006 during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

Their respective methods for cooperation contribute to meeting the objectives of the partnership for development (MDGs) and the integration of Africa into the world economy.

See also

For further information please visit the following websites:

- African Union (AU)

- Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)

- Joint Statement of the 10th China-EU Summit in Beijing on 28 November 2007 (PDF)

Last updated: 20.02.2009