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International Partnerships

Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific

Our partnership with the then African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) Group of States began in 1957 and continues to be our most comprehensive partnership with third countries.

The ACP Group of States, which became the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), an international organisation, in April 2020 covers:

  • 48 Sub-Saharan African countries
  • 16 Caribbean countries
  • 15 Pacific countries

The Cotonou Agreement (2000) frames our relations with these countries, incorporating civil society, the private sector, trade unions, parliaments and local authorities, and giving priority to poverty eradication and sustainable development.

Since 2010, our cooperation with OACPS countries additionally focuses on challenges including climate change, food security, and regional integration. By tackling poverty, boosting local economies, and strengthening governance, the EU-ACP partnership supports over 1 billion people in OACPS countries. We cooperate and provide development assistance to help secure the long-term future of developing countries which face the rigours of operating in an ever more complex and fast-paced global economy.

The Cotonou Agreement was concluded for an initial period of twenty years. Negotiations on a renewed Partnership Agreement to succeed the current Cotonou Agreement (hence the “post-Cotonou” reference) started in September 2018 and were concluded on 15 April 2021.  More details can be found here.

Our programmes

Under the Cotonou Agreement, we support programmes that both benefit OACPS countries and complement activities at national and regional levels. With funds provided through the European Development Fund (EDF) and the EU budget, we ensure funding goes to activities that deliver tangible and lasting results. Programmes are tailor-made to meet local needs, and funding goes where it is required most.

A substantial amount of our assistance is provided through budget support. This requires us to maintain discussions with partner countries on the policy measures required and the results to be achieved.

We work in close partnership with local partners, jointly preparing programmes locally where the challenges are experienced first-hand.

Intra-ACP cooperation

On-going Intra-ACP cooperation programmes, the most recent of which run until 2025, enable us to address shared challenges faced by OACPS countries and provide support when national or regional programmes would have been less effective.

Through intra-ACP cooperation, we mainly help ACP countries:

  • protect themselves against global health threats, including the fight against the main poverty-related diseases
  • build their resilience and adapt to climate-related and environmental challenges
  • promote integration through cultural and educational exchanges, and mobility activities
  • support private sector development and investment
  • contribute to the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in Africa

We also assist the active participation of ACP countries to the ACP-EU institutional dialogue, particularly at the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA). The intra-ACP cooperation also supports the ACP Secretariat.

Annual Action Programmes (AAPs)

The last AAP under the 11th European Development Fund Intra-ACP envelope was approved in 2020. Through the AAPs, funds were reserved for regional and multi-country external cooperation programmes, and thematic programmes. The 2020 AAP includes in particular the following priorities:

  • increased support to the preparedness of health systems in OACPS countries
  • actions to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the ACP countries such as the programme on digital connectivity and digital solutions to strengthen the resilience of education, health and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) systems
  • private sector development and investment, including support for agricultural value chains development in OACPS countries
  • disaster risk reduction