Since 2000, the Cotonou Agreement has been the framework for the EU's relations with 79 countries from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP). The Cotonou Agreement is the most comprehensive partnership agreement between developing countries and the EU.
The EU is the destination for more than a quarter of all ACP goods exports, and more than 30% of all goods imported by ACP countries are of EU origin; although less than 5% of all EU goods exports are destined for ACP countries. The European Development Fund is the main instrument for providing Community assistance for development cooperation under the Cotonou Agreement. It provides about €23 billion to ACP countries between 2008 and 2013. The Cotonou Agreement provides for a revision clause which foresees that the agreement is adapted every five years till 2020. In this line, a second revision was approved on June 2010, which was applicable from November 2010.
Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa
Within the group of ACP countries, the 48 Sub-Saharan African countries have the highest weight in terms of population, size of the economy and prevalence of poverty. South Africa and Nigeria together account for more than half of sub-Saharan African Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Nigeria is among the top ten oil exporters in the world.
Two factors that helped to underpin Sub-Saharan Africa’s resilience during the global recession are of continuing importance in sustaining the region’s growth. First, the improved economic fundamentals and policy space that provided room for the effective use of countercyclical macroeconomic policy in the global downturn will continue to provide some protection from future fluctuations. Second, insofar as trade remains a crucial factor for sustained growth in many countries, the pronounced shift in the region’s trading pattern toward faster-growing parts of the global economy should help to maintain export growth.
Most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have recovered quickly from the global financial crisis, but the pace of the recovery has varied within the region. While output growth in oil exporters and low-income countries is resuming to pre-crisis levels, the recovery in middle-income countries is being more subdued, reflecting the more severe impact of the collapse in world trade. Commodity export dependent developing countries benefit from elevated commodity price developments while uncertainties regarding main trade partners' growth (in Europe and Asia), is likely to hinder the pace of recovery.