International Cooperation and Development

Africa-EU cooperation

As Europe’s closest neighbour, the African continent consisting of 54 countries not only shares a rich history with EU countries, but also common values and interests. Through the Africa-EU partnership, we work, engage in political and policy dialogues, and define our cooperative relationship with Africa. The partnership was established in 2000 at the first African Union (AU)-EU Summit in Cairo. It is guided by the Joint Africa-EU strategy (JAES), adopted at the 2nd AU-EU Summit in Lisbon in 2007.

Africa has pursued political and economic integration at a continental level since the start of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963 and the AU in 2002. At continental level, institutions, policies and initiatives have been established in areas that are of increasing importance for Africa’s development, as well as being of interest to the EU.

African and European counterparts engage in formal dialogues through:

  • AU-EU Summits between heads of states and governments
  • ministerial meetings
  • European Commission to AU Commission meetings

Deepening and strengthening the relationship between Africa and the EU continues to be a priority for both the EU and the AU. The JAES provides a vision for future relations between Africa and the EU, setting out the overarching political framework and seeking to tackle issues of common concern together.

During the 5th AU-EU Summit held in 2017, a joint declaration ‘Investing in youth for accelerated inclusive growth and sustainable development’ emerged highlighting the intricate ways in which Africa and the EU are tied together politically and economically. Policy priority areas were also set out with a focus on youth, defining 4 joint priority areas for the following years:

  • investing in people through education, science, technology and skills development
  • strengthening resilience, peace, security and governance
  • mobilising investments for African structural and sustainable transformation
  • migration and mobility

In 2018, a new Africa-Europe Alliance for sustainable investment and jobs was announced, deepening trade and economic relations, and proposing:

  • a boost in strategic investment and job creation
  • investment in education and skills
  • strengthening the business environment and investment climate
  • tapping the full potential of economic integration and trade

Our programmes

Support for the Africa-EU partnership occurs through various programmes, facilities, and funds.

Pan-African programme

Set up in 2014, the Pan-African programme is the first EU development and cooperation programme that covers all of Africa. The programme supports trans-regional, continental and global actions, providing new opportunities for collaboration between Africa and the EU. It is funded under our Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) with a budget of €845 million for the period 2014-2020. Since 2018 it has focused on key areas of:

  • political dialogue and pan-African governance
  • education and skills, research and technology
  • continental economic integration

African Peace Facility (APF)

Established in 2004 as a response to a request by African leaders, the APF is the main source of support to efforts made by the AU and the African regional economic communities in peace and security. The objectives are to ensure a peaceful, safe and secure environment in Africa, as well as to foster political stability and effective governance while enabling sustainable and inclusive growth.

European Union Emergency Trust Fund (EUTF)

Complimenting the Africa-EU partnership, the EUTF, as established at the Valletta Summit on migration in 2015 aims to contribute to better migration management through addressing the root causes of instability, forced displacement and irregular migration. Through the EUTF, activities are implemented across the Sahel, Lake Chad, the Horn of Africa and North Africa.

Africa Investment Platform (AIP)

Made operational in 2015, the AIP supports sustainable growth in Africa. It aims at promoting investment in areas with a positive impact on socio-economic development, including transportation, communication, water, and energy infrastructure, agriculture, and small-to-medium enterprises. The AIP is a financial mechanism that combines grants with other resources to leverage the impact of the support.

EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (EU-AITF)

The EU-AITF was created in 2007 with the main objective to promote investment in infrastructure throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. As an instrument of the EU-Africa infrastructure partnership, it mobilises additional finances to increase access to energy, transport, water, sanitation, and communication services. Through grants blended with long-term financing from development finance institutions, the EU-AITF supports large regional infrastructure programmes that facilitate interconnectivity and regional integration.