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Communication on the consolidation of EU-Africa relations - guide

10 November 2010
by eub2 -- last modified 10 November 2010

Ahead of the Africa-EU Summit taking place from 29-30 November in Libya, the European Commission has presented its proposals for a consolidation of the Africa-EU relations. Building on the existing Joint Africa-EU Strategy launched in 2007, the Commission details common challenges where progress has been made and which still have to be jointly addressed, such as the poverty eradication, peace and security, democracy and human rights, global governance and climate change. While the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will remain at the heart of the Africa-EU Joint Strategy, the Commission recognizes that there is a need to support Africa in strengthening its political and economic governance to allow better mobilization of the continent's own assets in a sustainable way. In that spirit, the Commission proposes to focus on initiatives that could help to trigger inclusive and sustainable growth in the long-term. These proposals will contribute to shaping the Action Plan on the implementation of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy that will be adopted during the Summit.


What is the Joint Africa-EU Strategy?

80 Heads of State and Government from Africa and Europe adopted the Africa-EU Joint Strategy in Lisbon in December 2007. The Joint Strategy outlines a long-term shared vision of the future of Africa-EU relations in a globalised world. It goes

* beyond development cooperation by opening up the EU-Africa dialogue to issues of joint political concern and interest;
* beyond Africa by moving away from a focus on African matters only and openly addressing global and European issues;
* beyond fragmentation in supporting Africa's aspirations to find regional and continental responses to some of the most important challenges;
* beyond institutions in ensuring a better participation of African and European citizens, as part of an overall strengthening of civil society in the two continents.

Based on this shared vision and common principles, the Africa-EU Joint Strategy defines eight specific partnerships :

* Peace and security
* Democratic governance and human rights
* Trade, regional integration and infrastructure
* Millennium development goals (MDGs)
* Energy
* Climate change
* Migration, mobility and employment
* Science, information society and space

The eight thematic partnerships – objectives and examples of joint programmes

1. Peace and Security

The objective of this partnership is for Africa and Europe to work together to address global security challenges and improve the worldwide multilateral capacity to respond to crises. At the same time it focuses on the capacity of Africa to take its share in the management of crises and security threats. The partnership pursues two main objectives: a) building the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and agenda; b) strengthening the dialogue between the EU and the AU on peace and security issues, such as counter-terrorism disarmament, post conflict reconstruction and weapons of mass destruction.

The EU has made more than €1 billion available for this Partnership. The largest share of this has gone into the African Peace Facility, which is the major funds provider for Africa-led peace support operations.

Example: The African Peace Facility

Through the creation of the African Peace Facility, the EU provides financial support to the efforts of the African Union and other regional organisations to find 'African solutions to African problems'. Operations financed by the facility are led and staffed by Africans. The peace facility was created in 2004 in response to a request from government leaders of the African Union. It focuses on three key aspects:

* an enhanced EU-Africa dialogue on challenges to peace and security;
* the creation of a more efficient African peace and security architecture;
* a source of predictable funding for African-led peace support operations.

The budget of the facility was €440 million in 2004-2008 and €300 million for 2009-2011. The main peace support operations it has funded have been in Somalia, the Central African Republic, Sudan and the Comoros Islands. Important capacity building programmes have also been funded.

2. Democratic governance and human rights

This partnership promotes democracy, rule of law and human rights in Africa, Europe and globally, by establishing an open and comprehensive dialogue on governance and human rights. Through their dialogue, Africa and Europe try to better define the issues at stake, agree on issues of common concern, improve their influence at the global level and jointly undertake specific initiatives and actions. Cultural cooperation is also part of this partnership, focusing on the protection of cultural goods, including the fight against the trafficking of cultural goods.

Examples of EU funded projects

* The EU is supporting the AU's Electoral Assistance Fund with €1 million.
* The European Commission is contributing €2 million to the UNDP-managed Trust Fund to support the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Secretariat and has provided support to national APRM Structures and the implementation of APRM recommendations. The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is an instrument to which AU Member States voluntarily accede (currently 33 countries). Its objective is to ensure that policies and practices conform to agreed governance values, codes and standards, with a view to improving political stability, high economic growth etc.

3. Trade, regional integration and infrastructure

This partnership focuses on regional integration as a factor for peace, stability and economic growth. Trade and trans-national infrastructure are inseparably linked to this strategy, helping to build larger and more efficient competitive markets and creating a pro-business environment that attracts domestic and foreign investment. The partnership focuses on regional economic integration, reaching from policy making to implementation, from institutions to best practices and procedures. It spans across a number of priorities, such as trade agreements, trade in goods and services, harmonisation and cooperation regarding sanitary and phyto-sanitary rules. Following agreement in Addis Ababa in June 2010 between the Africa Union Commission and the EU Commission, a specific subject of cooperation relates to raw materials and will cover three areas: i) governance ii) infrastructure /investment and iii) geological knowledge /skills

Example: EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund

The EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (ITF) responds to the African demand for a more flexible delivery of grants to leverage loans for large-scale infrastructure projects with a regional dimension. It is a successful example of an integrated EU instrument combining grants from the European Development Fund and EU Member States resources with loans from eligible financing institutions.

The ITF is managed by the European Investment Bank and jointly run through a steering committee of EU and African members. It currently comprises 12 Member States as donors with a total endowment of €388.7 million. The total allocation from the Commission now stands at €308.7 million with the remaining €80 million allocated by the participating EU Member States.

To date, 31 grant operations have been approved. The total project costs amount to over €2 billion – each euro of European funding is expected to generate €12 in total investment.

Examples of supported projects include:

* hydro-electric schemes (e.g. Felou in West Africa);
* electricity interconnection schemes (e.g. Benin-Togo; Namibia- Zambia);
* roads, railways, airports and ports (e.g. Beira, Walvis Bay; Pointe Noire, Port Louis; Jomo ; Kenyatta International Airport, Kenya; Great Eastern Road, Zambia);
* East African Submarine Cable system (EASSy), a fibre optic cable linking southern and eastern African countries into the international communications network.

4. Millennium development goals

The Millennium Development Goals relate to the fight against poverty remain at the heart of EU-Africa cooperation. This partnership constitutes a platform for intensified continent-to-continent policy dialogue, cooperation and joint action at all levels with a view to achieving the MDGs in all African countries. It has so far concentrated on the education, health and agricultural sectors. It also aims at creating the necessary policy and financial architecture to foster MDG progress. The main actors involved are African and European Governments and Parliaments, the African Union Commission and the European Commission, local authorities, civil society organisations, private actors and researchers.

Example: Somali Ecosystem Rinderpest Eradication Coordination Unit (SERECU) II

The Somali Ecosystem Rinderpest Eradication Coordination (SERECU) project (€4 million) is one of the projects financed by the EU to eradicate rinderpest, a devastating disease affecting livestock. Improving animal health and food safety and as a consequence food security in the respective region responds directly to the first Millennium Development Goal to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. The SERECU project was established to coordinate efforts to free the Somali Ecosystem of the rinderpest disease by 2010. Somalia was granted disease freedom status in May 2010 and the global eradication declaration is foreseen for 2011. Rinderpest was one of the major transboundary animal diseases in Africa, and its eradication is a success story and an example of a fruitful long term partnership between the EU and the African Union. The EU contributed with more than €203 million to various projects since the beginning of the eradication campaign in the 1960s.

Other examples include:

MDG 1 – Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

€1 billion were mobilized through the Food Facility, of which approximately €560 million is destined for Africa.

MDG 2 - Achieve universal primary education

The European Commission has contributed €22 million in 2007 to the Education for All Fast Track Initiative fund, €5.6 million in 2008 and €4.5 million in 2009. 21 out of 30 countries that benefited from the Fund are in Africa.

MDG 6 - Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Since 2002, the EU has contributed more than $9 billion or 52% to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), with the Commission alone providing €100 million per year in 2008 and 2009. Africa has received some 60% of all GFATM financing since 2002.

5. Energy

Energy is at the heart of development and an essential prerequisite for economic growth and reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). More generally, meeting growing energy needs will be one of the main challenges of the 21st century. Access to reliable and sustainable energy supplies will be essential both for Africa and Europe. The overall objectives of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership stress dialogue on energy access and energy security and improved access to reliable, secure, affordable, climate friendly and sustainable energy services for both continents. The partnership further focuses on increased energy infrastructure investments, including the promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Example: The Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme

The Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP) was launched by the European Commission in coordination with the African Union and EU Member States in September 2010 and foresees an initial financial contribution of the EU of €5 million. This cooperation programme has been established for a 10-year period and is due to contribute to the African renewable energy targets for 2020 in the framework of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership. The programme provides a framework for joint cooperation between the two continents complements ongoing initiatives such as the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund or the ACP-EU Energy Facility. It will work mainly on a regional and continental level. The proposed planned contribution of €5 million will support a three year start-up phase of the programme.

Alternative example: The Felou hydropower scheme

One of the joint goals of the Energy partnership is the building 10,000 MW of new hydropower facilities in Africa. The 63 MW Felou hydropower scheme will be harnessing the natural power of the waterfalls on the Senegal river to produce low-cost, zero-emission hydroelectricity in an area suffering from chronic electricity shortages. Mali, Mauritania and Senegal are set to benefit enormously from this project. Power generated by the Felou project will help meet the three countries' growing demand. It will also provide an alternative to electricity produced by fossil fuel based thermal power stations, which is much more expensive, both in economic and environmental terms. The project is supported through the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund with almost €10 million.

6. Climate Change

The African continent is particularly vulnerable when it comes to climate change. Food security, sustainable water supply and extreme weather phenomena (floods, drought desertification) are major issues that require an African-EU joint effort. The partnership aims at supporting a continental pan-African approach and response to climate challenges. It is spelled out through concrete flagship initiatives and within the current negotiations for a global and comprehensive post-2012 climate agreement. The two overarching priorities in the 2008-2010 Action Plan of this partnership are:

* Building a common agenda on climate change policies and cooperation
* Fighting against land degradation and aridity including the Green wall for the Sahara initiative

Example: Support to the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA)

The EU provides significant support to African countries to help them adapt to the consequences and mitigate the risks of climate change. One of the key initiatives is "Support to the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA)", a programme covering all of sub-Saharan Africa, as well as all Caribbean and Pacific countries. €40 million of 10th European Development Fund have been allocated under this initiative to improve political dialogue on climate change, to foster a better exchange of knowledge and experiences in addressing its impacts and to provide concrete financial support for adaptation and mitigation measures. This regards especially water and agriculture sectors, forest degradation, investments to reduce CO2 emissions, disaster risk reduction and other sectors directly linked to human welfare.

€16 million of this programme are specifically earmarked for Africa, to support:

* "ClimDev Africa" (in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, UNECA, EUR 8 million) which aims at increasing the climate resilience of Africa's population while addressing the need for improved climate information in Africa and strengthening the use of such information by decision-makers.
* similar activities in jointly agreed priority areas of action with two Regional Economic Communities, namely the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA; EUR 4 million) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS, EUR 4 million).

7. Migration, mobility and employment

Migration is a major political issue, both in the EU and in Africa. Where the public and political debate often focuses exclusively on the downsides of migration, there is a need for policy makers in both continents to identify challenges as well as opportunities, notably in connection to employment strategies and realities in Africa and in the EU. The partnership operates on two levels. The first is dialogue.

Topics for discussions include:

* diasporas, remittances, brain drain, migrant rights, social consequences of migration
* regular migration, including circular migration, mobility and visa issues
* irregular migration, trafficking in human beings, smuggling of migrants, readmission, return
* refugees, asylum and protection
* job creation, inclusive growth, decent work, social protection, informal and social economy
* mobility of students and scholars, higher education harmonisation process (such as the Nyerere programme, and Erasmus Mundus)

The second level of the partnership deals with concrete initiatives and actions. Here stakeholders can jointly identify priority actions.

Example: The African Remittances Institute

Remittances constitute the most important source of incoming foreign currency in many developing countries and are therefore a core source for growth and development. The African Remittances Institute aims to strengthen capacities of all actors (African governments, banks, remittance senders and recipients, etc) to better use remittances as development tools for poverty reduction. The total budget is €2.1 million of which up to 1.7 million will be contributed by the EC and the rest by the World Bank. Activities will include, among other things, technical assistance, training, studies and dissemination of data. The preparatory phase project (both technical and consultative) started in 2010 under the leadership of the AU, in close association with the World Bank and the European Commission, and involving also the African Development Bank and the International Organization for Migration.

8. Science, information society and space

In today's world, scientific research and technology have become key factors to economic and social growth. Unfortunately, the scientific and digital divides on the African continent are hindering Africa's full participation in today's globalised knowledge society. Activities in this partnership focus on this issue, including a high level political dialogue and consultation on common positions in international conferences. Space applications can assist in effectively addressing many of the most pressing challenges facing the African continent such as water and food security, monitoring impacts of climate change, healthcare and education.

Example: GMES and Africa

A key element of the EU's space-based contribution to African sustainability is provided by the "GMES and Africa" (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) initiative which aims to strengthen space and ground-based infrastructure to allow Earth observation data to be used for environment and resource management, to monitor climate change and to contribute to peace and security in Africa. The Action Plan for GMES and Africa is being drafted by representatives of the European Commission, EU Member States, the European Space Agency and EUMESTSAT together with their African Union counterparts. The Action Plan should be finalised in 2011 so that services under the GMES and Africa Programme can be better designed to serve African needs.

Example: Africa and EGNOS

The African Union and European Union are cooperating on how to improve satellite navigation in African skies to enhance safety and contribute to Africa's economic development. For this purpose the EU and AU are working together to extend to the whole of the African continent the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System (EGNOS). This system which has been operational in Europe since 2009, could be deployed across Africa from 2014. EGNOS would dramatically improve air and maritime transport safety in Africa. It will bring significant benefits for African sustainability in other areas, notably in agriculture, mining, energy and land management.

Example: AfricaConnect

The EU funds the ACP Connect project, covering sub-Saharan Africa as well as Caribbean and Pacific countries. Under this project, EUR 12 million from the 10th EDF have been granted to support the deployment of regional research and education networks in Africa and their interconnection with the European GEANT network, the pan-European data network connecting the research and education community across 40 countries. The objective is to provide the African scientific community with better access to research and education resources and higher capacity transit to the Internet. More specifically, the project notably focuses on the building and interconnection of "National Research and Education Networks" (NRENs) and the promotion of the use of existing and planned networks to the end-users (students, researchers, doctors).

What is the EU doing in the area of agriculture and food security in Africa?

In 2010, chronic hunger affects 925 million people worldwide, 239 million of whom live in Africa. In March this year the Commission took a significant step towards helping developing countries address this challenge by adopting a new policy framework for food security. This policy puts food security and sustainable agriculture higher among the EU's priorities in the years ahead and prioritises support to those countries that have the biggest difficulties in meeting the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty and hunger by 2015 (MDG 1); in particular, countries in Africa and countries in fragile situations where the highest hunger rates are found.

The main framework for EU cooperation with developing countries consists of country programmes financed by geographical cooperation instruments. For instance, over €1 billion in support to agriculture, rural development and food security is granted to Sub-Saharan Africa countries through the 10th European Development Fund (2008-2013). At the global, continental and regional level, the Food Security Thematic Programme (FSTP) provides about €250 million per annum to address food security challenges in developing countries. In addition, the Food Facility assists 30 African countries worst affected by the food price crisis (2007/08) by providing €580 million as a temporary response to bridge the gap between providing emergency relief and long-term development support.

Example: The Food Facility

In 2008, the EU provided an additional €1 billion to support 50 developing countries worst affected by the food price crisis across the world. This 'food facility' is a swift and specific response to help millions of people in the short and medium term (2009-2011). It supports actions to mobilise farmers and smallholders in target countries in order to increase agricultural productivity, and secure access to food for the most vulnerable. So far, it has resulted in 222 projects and has benefited 50 million people in poor countries.

For example, with support from the Food and Agriculture organisation, the Food Facility has helped to provide quality seeds to 100 000 vulnerable farmers in Burkina Faso, benefiting about 700 000 people, amid the growing food crisis in the Sahel. With EU support worth €18 million, this operation will improve the food security of more than 860 000 rural households, which translates to over 6 million people.

Related Links:

Full text of the Communication

Website of the Africa-EU Partnership

Source: European Commission

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