The Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) was launched at the Africa–EU Summit in Lisbon in 2007 and sets out the intention of both continents to move beyond a donor/recipient relationship towards long-term cooperation on jointly identified, mutual and complementary interests. It is based on principles of ownership, partnership and solidarity and its adoption marks a new phase in Africa-EU relations.
In 2007, the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) was adopted at the Lisbon Summit, which brought together the Leaders of 27 European and 54 African States as well as the Presidents of the continental Institutions.
The purpose of the Joint Strategy is to take the Africa-EU Partnership to a new strategic level with a strengthened political dialogue and enhanced cooperation at all levels. The JAES reflects the Euro-African consensus on values, joint interests and common strategic objectives.
The Joint Africa-EU Strategy, which provides the overarching long-term framework for Africa-EU relations, is implemented through jointly identified priorities, which are of common interest to both the EU and Africa, and significantly impact on the daily lives of citizens on both continents. Within each area of cooperation, the focus is on actions at the global, continental or cross regional levels and in which participating actors have a collective capacity to deliver.
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.
What is the added value of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy?
The Africa-EU Strategy complements the existing frameworks of cooperation with Sub-Saharan Africa and with the EU's Neighbourhood. It has to be underlined that this level of Africa-EU cooperation overarches all other existing channels of cooperation at the local, national and regional level. The JAES provides an added value to these frameworks by:
- Situating the Partnership in a global context by jointly addressing global common challenges such as climate change, the protection of the environment, or peace and security. Through joint positions Africa and Europe have more weight in global fora;
- Expanding Africa-EU cooperation into promising new areas of common interest such as governance and human rights, trade and regional integration, energy, climate change, migration, mobility and employment, or science, Information and Communication Technologies and space applications;
- Working towards a people-centred partnership by ensuring the effective participation of civil society and the private sector and delivering direct benefits for African and European citizens.
Implementation of the JAES
The Joint Strategy is implemented through multi-annual Action Plans defining the priority areas of cooperation. Three successive action plans have already been adopted and implemented since 2007.
During the 5th AU-EU Summit that took place on 29-30 November 2017 in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, EU and African leaders adopted a joint declaration on 'Investing in Youth for Accelerated Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development' outlining new joint priorities for the Africa-EU Partnership in four strategic areas from 2018 onwards:
Investing in people – education, science, technology and skills development
Strengthening Resilience, Peace, Security and Governance
Migration and mobility
Mobilising Investments for African structural sustainable transformation.
Previously, at the 4th EU-Africa Summit in Brussels, African and European Heads of State and Government adopted the Roadmap 2014-2017. It focuses the implementation of the Joint Strategy on 5 priority areas:
- Peace and security
- Democracy, good governance and human rights
- Human development
- Sustainable and inclusive development and growth and continental integration
- Global and emerging issues.
It was also agreed to increase synergies between the political dialogue and cooperation as well as to promote contributions from the private sector and civil society.
- Peace and security
- Democratic governance and human rights
- Regional economic integration, trade and infrastructure
- Millennium Development Goals
- Climate change
- Migration, mobility and employment
- Science, information society and space.
In 2014, a brochure The Africa-EU Partnership: 2 Unions, 1 Vision summarised the main achievements of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy until then.