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.
Africa is a unique partner for the EU for historical and geographical reasons. The high degree of interdependence between Africa and Europe as well as the shared principles of equal partnership and joint ownership have contributed to the development of a long-term, broad and evolving partnership across various policy areas. Africa is the second fastest growing region in the world with an annual growth rate of 4.7% over 2000-2017. Its population, currently around 1.2 billion people and largely composed of young people, is expected to double by 2050. Europe is Africa's largest export market, accounting for approximately 35% of its exports. The importance of Africa for Europe was highlighted by President Juncker in his State of the Union Address 2018, where he proposed a new, promising Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs between Europe and Africa. This is an important initiative paving the way towards stronger cooperation between the two partners.
Africa and Europe share a rich history of scientific and technological cooperation. Within the framework of the AU-EU High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) on Science, Technology and Innovation, embedded in the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES), both sides agreed to work further together on common priority research and innovation areas, the first one being food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture. At the request of the EU-Africa Summit of 2014, an EU-Africa Expert Group was tasked, under the guidance of the HLPD, to draft a Roadmap towards an EU-Africa R&I Partnership on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA). This Roadmap was adopted by the HLPD Senior Officials Meeting in Addis Ababa in April 2016 and is structured around four main pillars: (i) Sustainable intensification, (ii) Agriculture and food systems for nutrition, (iii) Expansion and improvement of agricultural markets and trade and (iv) Cross-cutting issues. For the successful implementation of the Partnership, an AU-EU FNSSA Working Group was set up in March 2017, supported by the Research and Innovation Network for Europe and Africa (RINEA). The Group provides oversight of the implementation of the Roadmap, including on future activities, in order to ensure coordination between the different instruments and stakeholders.