African and EU leaders are expected to discuss issues related to youth, as well as peace and security, governance, investment, trade, jobs, migration and possibly climate change at the fifth African Union – European Union (AU-EU) summit in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire on November 29-30.
This year EU-Africa relations have strengthened, as it has been ten years since the adoption of the joint Africa-EU Strategy, the European Council said, adding that the AU-EU summit will be a key moment and opportunity to strengthen political and economic ties between the two continents.
In addition, the 6th EU-Africa business forum will take place on November 27 in Abidjan. Its objective is to boost investment that promotes development in Africa.
On November 22, main civil society networks working on climate change in Europe and Africa have urged the leaders of the two continents to use the summit as an opportunity to strengthen their cooperation on tackling climate change.
Climate change poses massive and unbalanced risks towards advancing those areas of cooperation and achieving safer, more resilient and sustainable economies in Africa. However, it is conspicuously absent from the list of priorities identified for the summit, CAN Europe said.
In an unprecedented joint statement, an broad alliance of African and European climate NGOs urges EU and African leaders to put climate at the forefront of the summit’s agenda and boost their partnership to address climate change. In particular, the groups emphasise the need for increased financial support to adapt to the impacts of climate change and improved access to clean energy solutions, particularly in vulnerable countries.
Maeve McLynn, Finance and Subsidies Policy Coordinator at Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said the EU-Africa summit is an ideal moment for the two continents to push forward the implementation of the Paris Agreement and accelerate the clean energy transition. “The EU and Africa need to forge a closer alliance that will empower the world’s most vulnerable to cope with the impacts of climate change, improve their access to clean energy and make sustainable development a reality for millions of people in Africa and Europe. It is a precondition for keeping temperature rise to safe levels and a survival question for many African communities,” he said.
The EU and its member states are the number one contributor to promote development, stability and peace in Africa: €21 billion development aid was provided to Africa in 2016 by the EU and its member states, the largest aid donors on the continent; €32 billion were invested in Africa by EU companies in 2015, accounting for around one third of the overall foreign direct investment in Africa; €3.35 billion are allocated to the European fund for sustainable development, which should trigger up to €44 billion of investments;
7 civilian and military missions are deployed across Africa; €1.4 billion are committed to educational programmes in Africa from 2014 to 2020.
In 2014, the fourth AU-EU summit brought together more than 60 EU and African leaders to discuss the future of EU-Africa relations and reinforce links between the two continents.
African countries and the EU cooperate through multiple frameworks such as: the Cotonou agreement and the joint Africa-EU strategy.
The Cotonou agreement is the overarching framework for EU relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. It covers the EU’s relations with 79 countries, including 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The joint Africa-EU strategy was adopted in 2007 as the formal channel for EU relations with African countries. This strategy, which was agreed by the African Union and EU institutions, as well as by African and EU countries, is implemented through periodical action plans. In 2014, EU and African countries agreed on the roadmap for 2014-2017.
On May 4, 2017, the High Representative and the Commission issued a joint communication for a renewed impetus of the Africa-EU Partnership. The Foreign Affairs Council welcomed the joint communication at its meeting on May 15, 2017.
In addition to these frameworks, the Council has adopted three regional strategies for the: Horn of Africa, Gulf of Guinea, Sahel, Africa-EU relations also take place through formal dialogues, such as the EU-Africa summits.
The Horn of Africa
The Horn of Africa, a region in East Africa, has faced repetitive droughts over the past years, causing a severe humanitarian crisis. In 2011, the EU adopted a strategic framework for the Horn of Africa. It outlines the action to be taken by the EU to help the people of the region achieve peace, stability, security, prosperity and accountable government.
The strategic framework has led among other things to: the supporting Horn of Africa resilience initiative (SHARE) (2012); the action plan on counter-terrorism for the Horn of Africa and Yemen (2013); SHARE – Horn of Africa (European Commission); and EU counter-terrorism action plan for the Horn of Africa and Yemen.
In 2015, the Council adopted the Horn of Africa regional action plan 2015-2020.
This defines the EU’s approach for addressing key issues throughout the region.
The action plan takes into account challenges that have become more critical over the years, notably: the influence of the wider region on the Horn of Africa
radicalisation; migration and forced displacement.
The High Representative and the Commission lead the implementation of the action plan. The Council is regularly updated on its implementation, including through annual reports.
Gulf of Guinea
Countries in the region of the Gulf of Guinea are facing growing instability due to a lack of control over coastal waters and the coast itself.
As a result of this, criminal activity is on the rise, such as: trafficking of drugs, human beings, arms, diamonds, counterfeit medicines, illegal waste, etc; piracy and armed robbery at sea; oil theft; illegal fishing.
In March 2014, the Council adopted a strategy on the Gulf of Guinea. This describes how the EU can help countries in the region tackle these challenges and strengthen their maritime capabilities, the rule of law and effective governance.
A year later, in March 2015, the Council adopted the Gulf of Guinea action plan 2015-2020. This outlines the EU’s support to address the challenges of maritime security and organised crime in the region.
A senior EU coordinator looks after the implementation of the EU Gulf of Guinea strategy and the action plan. Their implementation is closely coordinated with the Council’s Political and Security Committee.
The High Representative and the Commission, upon the Council’s request, presented the EU strategy for security and development in the Sahel in 2011.
It focuses on four strands of action: development; good governance and internal conflict resolution; political and diplomatic security and rule of law; and countering violent extremism.
Adopted in 2015, the Sahel regional action plan 2015-2020 provides a solid basis for pursuing the objectives of the strategy. It focuses on four areas which are highly relevant to the stabilisation of the region, namely: preventing and countering radicalization; creating appropriate conditions for youth; migration, mobility and border management; fighting illicit trafficking and transnational organised crime. The EU and Africa are taking concrete action to promote better access to education, boost investment and create jobs.
The EU has negotiated a series of economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with 48 countries from Sub-Saharan Africa, as part of the Cotonou agreement. These agreements aim to create a shared trade and development partnership backed up by development support.
The EU finances development programmes and initiatives benefiting multiple countries across Africa.
Most of the funding comes from the European development fund (EDF), which has a budget of €30.5 billion for the period 2014-2020.
The EU has launched several military and civilian missions and operations in Africa, as part of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).
EU missions are currently deployed in: the Central African Republic, Libya, Mali, Niger and Somalia.
In November 2015, the EU and the African leaders most concerned agreed on the Valetta action plan. This comprises 16 concrete actions to address the mass influx of migrants coming to Europe. In June 2016, the European Council agreed to deepen cooperation with key countries of origin and transit. Compacts tailored to the needs of each country are being put in place. In February 2017, EU leaders adopted the Malta declaration setting out their intention to increase cooperation with Libya, which is the main country of departure towards Europe.
The EU supports counter-terrorism initiatives and activities on the African continent. In June 2017, the EU committed to provide €50 million to support the newly established G5 Sahel Joint Force in order to improve security in the region.
In 2013, the EU adopted an action plan on counter-terrorism for the Horn of Africa and Yemen.