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Under the Africa-EU partnership, the strategic objective of this cooperation area is to ensure a transparent, democratic and accountable environment in the respect of Human Rights and the Rule of Law, contributing to reducing fragility, fostering political stability and effective governance, and enabling sustainable and inclusive development and growth.

Key areas of cooperation and specific objectives include:

  • Enhancing cooperation on democratic governance issues on both continents.
  • Support to the monitoring of elections by the African Union in the countries concerned and coordination with the electoral observation missions of the EU.
  • Defense of human rights in Africa and Europe and fight against impunity at national and international level and in the protection of human rights on both continents.
  • Enhancing dialogue between human rights institutions from both continents, including National Human Rights Institutions.
  • Increased coordination and cooperation at the UN Human Rights Council and other international fora.
  • Support to the full operationalisation of the African Governance Architecture and the work achieved by its various organs including their necessary coordination

Selected activities and achievements

Human Rights

  • A targeted programme of €5 million was launched in 2014 under the EIDHR to support the capacity and coordination of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs).
  • A €10 million programme "Strengthening the African Human Rights System" was adopted in 2015 under the Panafrican programme. It aims at contributing to a transparent, democratic and accountable environment in the framework of the African Governance Architecture through the African Commission and the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, the Pan-African Parliament and the African Committee on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. It is complemented by a €1.5 million support to the special mechanisms of the African Commission.
  • A €11 million contribution to the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme to combat Female Genital Mutilation was adopted in 2015, aiming at accelerating the abandonment of that harmful practice across Africa.

Election observation

  • The EU has supported the AU in developing and establishing a long-term observation methodology by providing capacity building and training, improving election observation tools and has also provided funding to the AU to deployed long-term observation missions. EU Member States have also supported the strengthening of the capacity of the AU's Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit by providing funding for recruiting staff members.
  • Since 2007, 49 EU electoral missions were deployed in Africa (often coordinated with observers from the AU and Regional economic communities).
  • In 2014, the EU adopted a €6.5 million programme to support the AU in developing its human capacity and methodological basis in organising and deploying long term election observation teams up to international standards.


  • The EU launched in 2015 a € 20 million call for proposals for civil society organisations (CSOs), to contribute to a more effective implementation and monitoring of continental legal instruments, and to enhance their participation in continental decision making processes. 
  • A €11 million 'Pan-African Financial Governance Programme' was adopted in 2014 to support harmonised approaches and builds standards of public finance systems through Pan-African organisations active in the four areas of budget cycle: Tax policy and administration (ATAF), Budget reforms (CABRI), External audit (AFROSAI), and Legislative oversight (AFROPAC).

The Pan-African Financial Governance Programme