Cooperation at a continental level between Africa and the European Union is guided by a Strategic Partnership, which is based on shared values and common interests. In 2007, the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) was adopted by both partners to forge stronger links between the two continents in key areas of cooperation, to deepen the political dialogue, and to provide a concrete road map for future joint work.
In an ever changing world, one thing is sure: Africa and Europe will remain each other's closest neighbours. Africa's 54 countries and the European Union's 28 Member States have a shared neighbourhood, history and future.
It was in this spirit that African and European leaders as well as the presidents of the continental institutions came together at the Lisbon Summit in December 2007 to put their relations on a new footing and to create the Africa-EU Partnership, based upon a strong political relationship and close cooperation in key areas.
Africa has been pursuing its political and economic integration at the continental level. From the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) 50 years ago, and even more so since the creation of the African Union (AU) in 2002, Africa has built continental institutions and established ambitious policies and initiatives in many key areas that are both important for the development of the continent and of direct interest to the EU. In this context, developing the relationship between the two Unions has become a priority for both sides.
The Joint Africa-EU Strategy
The Africa-EU Partnership is enshrined in the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES), launched at the Africa–EU Summit in Lisbon in 2007, which brought together the Leaders of 27 European and 54 African States as well as the Presidents of the continental Institutions.
The JAES embodies a new forward-looking vision for relations between Europe and Africa as one single continent, and sets out the overarching political framework defining relations between both sides. Going beyond development, it seeks to establish a partnership among equals, determined to tackle issues of common concern together.
It strives to bring Africa and Europe closer together through the strengthening of economic cooperation and the promotion of sustainable development, with both continents living side by side in peace, security, democracy, prosperity, solidarity and human dignity.
The Africa-EU relationship is deeply rooted in history and has gradually evolved into a strong partnership. The dialogue between the two partners is driven through regular formal dialogue at various levels between African and European counterparts, including:
- EU-Africa summits
- Ministerial-level meetings
- Commission-to-Commission meetings
- Joint annual forums
Dedicated EU Funding supporting the Africa-EU partnership
- The Pan-African Programme
The Pan-African Programme provides dedicated support to the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership. It is funded under the EU's Development Cooperation Instrument with a financial envelope of €845 million for the period 2014-2020.
- The African Peace Facility
The African Peace Facility is the key instrument for implementing the Africa-EU cooperation on peace and security. Over €1.6 billion of EU funding has been committed under the APF since 2004 to support the breadth of peace initiatives including capacity building and peace support operations, and the development of an early response mechanism. For the period 2014-2016, a total amount of €750M is foreseen for APF actions, funded under the European Development Fund.
EU-Africa relationship in figures
- EU aid represents more than 50% of global aid. €21 billion in development aid was provided to Africa in 2016 by the EU and its member states,
- One third of the overall foreign direct investment in Africa comes from the EU with€32 billion invested in Africa by EU companies in 2015,
- €3.35 billion are allocated to the European investment fund for sustainable development, which should trigger up to €44 billion of investments
- 7 civilian and military missions are deployed across sub Saharan Africa
- €1.4 billion are committed to educational programmes in Africa from 2014 to 2020