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EU and South Africa - Partnership of Equals

As the World Cup is taking place for the very first time on African soil, this creates an occasion to put the spotlight on the EU cooperation with South Africa and see how this relation has evolved over the years.

EU relations with South Africa were first established with the Special Programme for the Victims of Apartheid in 1986. It channeled resources to NGOs active in education and training, legal aid, as well as humanitarian and social programmes. With democracy the new partners in late 1994 signed a first Cooperation Agreement that was aligned to the new democratic Government's Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), and which also facilitated the operations of the European Investment Bank in the country from that point on.

Over the years EU funding has supported a large number of initiatives including improved water delivery and sanitation services, better rural and urban health programmes with an increased focus on HIV/AIDS, and more investment in urban infrastructure development. Many first-time entrepreneurs have again benefited from private sector support. However, the bulk of our commitment in South Africa has been dedicated to improved education, employment creation, the consolidation of democracy, good governance and civil society.

Today our Strategic Partnership builds on common values and interests, and seeks to significantly enhance SA-EU relation. South Africa is recognized as a key player globally and an anchor country on the African continent. Two strands are central to SA-EU cooperation:

  • Enhanced political dialogues and cooperation on bilateral, African and global issues - contact takes place at all levels including SADC, Nepad, African Union, and the family of UN agencies
  • The development of stronger and sustainable cooperation in economic and other areas, including trade, science and technology, education and health


For more information please visit the website of the EU Delegation to South Africa at:

Last update: 27/12/2014 |  Top