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International Partnerships

About the Africa-EU Partnership

About the Africa-EU Partnership

The Africa-EU Partnership is the formal political channel through which the EU and the African continent work together, engage in political and policy dialogues and define their cooperative relationship. It was established in 2000 at the first Africa-EU Summit in Cairo.

The partnership strives to bring Africa and Europe closer together through strengthening economic cooperation and promoting sustainable development, with both continents co-existing in peace, security, democracy, prosperity, solidarity and human dignity.

Against this backdrop, the two partners are determined to work together on a strategic, long-term footing to develop a shared vision for EU-Africa relations in a globalised world. Their common interests include issues such as climate change, global security and the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Africa is the European Union’s natural partner and neighbour. Together we can build a more prosperous, more peaceful and more sustainable future for all.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission (9 March 2020)

A comprehensive strategy with Africa

The basis of the Africa-EU partnership is outlined in the Joint Communication “Towards a Comprehensive Strategy with Africa” and supported by Council conclusions adopted on 30 June 2020.

The conclusions underline that the EU is determined to strengthen its relationship with the African countries and the African Union, in a way that is responsive both to European and African aspirations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for a global response and a strong EU-Africa partnership based on multilateralism, peace, security and stability, sustainable and inclusive development, and sustainable economic growth.

The joint communication proposes to work together on five global trends:

These proposals build on a growing momentum in EU-Africa relations. Deepening cooperation based around shared interests and values will enable both sides to achieve their common goals and to tackle global challenges.

The proposals set out not only the opportunities and challenges faced within each of these fields, but also 10 clear action points as a basis for future cooperation.

Complementarity with other cooperation frameworks

The Africa-EU Partnership focuses primarily on cooperation at a continental level and specifically the relationship between the European and African Unions. As such, it complements the EU's existing frameworks of cooperation with sub-Saharan Africa and with the EU Neighbourhood at bilateral and regional levels.

Other existing frameworks go beyond the African continent, such as the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement – also known as the Cotonou Agreement, which involves African countries, as well as the Pacific and Caribbean (ACP) Group of States. The Cotonou Agreement was concluded in 2000 and constitutes the legal basis of the European Development Fund (EDF).

In this regard, the Africa-EU Partnership, with its continental approach, is an instrument of political dialogue and cooperation, overarching and complementing existing development relationship frameworks between EU and African countries.


How it works: AU-EU Summits and stakeholder dialogues