The third Africa-EU Summit to be held in Tripoli, Libya on the 29 and 30 November will be an opportunity for the European Union (EU) and African Union (AU) to take stock of progress to date in the implementation of the Joint African–EU Strategy put in place in December 2007 and its first Action Plan. The Second Action Plan (2011-2013), due to be adopted at the Summit, is designed to meet a series of new challenges and govern future cooperation.
“The Europe-Africa partnership is different from the other partnerships that the EU and AU have around the world,” explains Klaus Rudischhauser, Director of relations with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Development. “European and African Leaders have put into place an innovative partnership that translates into very concrete actions our common priorities.” He explains that the innovative aspect of this unique partnership has to do with its inclusive nature: one that is not limited to the two continental organisations but also includes their member countries, civil society, the private sector, parliaments, etc. In this relationship, African and the EU are equal partners, who openly discuss not only development and African matters, but also address global issues and European priorities.
Ambassador John Kayode Shinkaiye, Chief of Staff in the Bureau of the AU Commission Chairperson.
“We have made good progress in the eight thematic partnerships of the Joint Strategy. Some partnerships are, however, moving faster than others due to their own nature. For example, the Peace and Security partnership is enabling the EU to support the Africa Peace and Security Architecture and strengthening the capacities of the AU to plan and conduct peacekeeping missions. This is progressing relatively well”, explains Rudischhauser.
This is also the case of the partnerships on energy, climate change, science, technology and space. In the framework of the energy partnership, a first high-level meeting of the energy partnership took place in Vienna on 14 and 15 September, gathering European and African representatives who pledged to develop access to modern and sustainable energy for at least 100 million more Africans by 2020. The meeting also launched an ambitious Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme which will contribute to the African renewable energy targets for 2020.
At the Tripoli Summit, the AU plans to announce flagship infrastructure projects, one in each of five African regions, adding to a long list of actions in progress. Under the governance partnership, EU and AU officials already meet twice a year to discuss human rights. Ahead of the upcoming Summit they expect to launch an Africa-EU platform to discuss governance issues. On the climate change front, Klaus Rudischhauser says he expects headway in Libya on the delivery in Africa of climate financing commitments, feeding into the Climate change conference in Mexico later in the year. In the context of the Migration, Mobility and Employment partnership, an African Remittances Institute will be launched. It will aim to strengthen the capacities of African governments, banks, remittance senders and recipients, private sector and other stakeholders, in view of better using remittances as development tools for poverty reduction.
The Europe-Africa partnership is different from the other partnerships that the EU and AU have around the world.European and African Leaders have put into place an innovative partnership that translates into very concrete actions our common priorities.
Sufficient human and financial resources are obviously essential if the partnership is to be implemented effectively, says the DG Development Director. Against a background of global economic crisis, the Tripoli Summit will look at how these resources can be further strengthened. African states currently have very limited national budgets and revenue. Central to these discussions, explains Klaus Rudischhauser, will be the crucial aspects of how African economies can better attract foreign direct investment, the need to create a better linkages between aid and investment, and the necessarily conditions to expand trade and to promote job creation on both sides of the continent. He adds that it is thus very timely that the Summit will be devoted to the theme: "Investment, economic growth and job creation".
The Africa – European Union Strategic Partnership is a key stage in the dialogue and cooperation that has bound the two continents since the first summit of heads of state and government, in Cairo in 2000. It makes the African Union a privileged partner of the EU and considers Africa as a whole by going beyond the array of instruments and agreements that exist with individual regions (Cotonou Agreement and EU-South Africa Agreement for Sub-Saharan Africa; Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and Neighbourhood Policy for North Africa).
The second Africa-EU summit, which met in Lisbon in December 2007, adopted a joint strategy and first action plan (2008-2010) with the aim of fostering closer relations and confronting together a series of new global challenges through eight distinct thematic partnerships:
1) Peace and security
2) Economic governance and human rights
3) Trade, regional integration and infrastructure
4) The Millennium Development Goals
6) Climate change
7) Migration, mobility and employment
8) Science, information society and space
The third Africa-EU Summit, to be held in Tripoli (Libya) on 29 and 30 November 2010, will assess the initial results and launch the second action plan (2011-2013).
© This article is provided by courtesy of ACP-Courier magazine.