EU proposes enhanced partnership with Africa on peace and security, and job creation for youth
2017 is a defining year for the partnership between Europe and Africa. In a rapidly changing global landscape, Africa is experiencing profound economic, political and societal changes, and its importance to the internal and external dimensions of Europe's security and prosperity is becoming ever more obvious. Europe and Africa have much to gain from increased political and economic ties, but also a lot to lose if they fail to act.
The 5th Africa-EU Summit due to take place in November 2017 provides a critical opportunity for African and European Leaders to respond to this evolving context and reshape and deepen the Africa-EU partnership.
This Communication proposes a revitalised framework for joint action that the EU and its Member States could bring to the Summit and that could be reflected in a Road Map for 2018-2020.
- It envisages a stronger, deeper and more action-oriented strategic partnership for more prosperity and stability in the two continents. It sets out policy priorities and an initial set of concrete initiatives for 2018-2020 and beyond, to be coordinated and strengthened with EU Member States and further developed jointly with African partners, in response to Africa's own Agenda 20631 and building on the Global strategy for the EU's Foreign and Security Policy.
- It pays particular attention to the aspirations and needs of youth, whose involvement in the overall process will be strongly encouraged.
- It contributes to the ongoing reflection, launched through the Joint Communication on A renewed partnership with the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific, which will inform the negotiations that will start in 2018, in view of renewing the EU's longstanding partnership with African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries, in particular the Africa pillar.
- It is guided by international frameworks, such as the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, its Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) on financing for development and the Paris Agreement on climate change. It is consistent with other relevant EU policies.
The European Commission and the High Representative/ Vice-President have set out today the EU's political priorities and concrete proposals for a stronger strategic partnership with Africa.
The European Commission and the High Representative / Vice-President present today a revitalised framework for joint action, to build a stronger strategic partnership between Europe and Africa for more prosperity and stability in the two continents. The Communication presents innovative proposals in a number of key areas – such as peace and security, migration, job creation or energy – based on priorities defined by African countries and stepping up the existing fruitful cooperation between the two continents. This comes ahead of the Africa-EU Summit in November this year, which will put a specific focus on youth.
At this occasion, High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini said: "2017 is the year for a new impetus of the partnership between Europe and Africa: every obstacle we may face is a common challenge, and Africa's hope is our hope. A strong Africa matters to Europe; our friendship matters to our people. Only by joining forces and working in partnership can we provide our youth with a more hopeful and peaceful future. Today, we don't simply look at what we can do for Africa but what we can do with Africa, together".
Neven Mimica, Commissioner in charge of International Cooperation and Development, added: "We propose several ideas and concrete measures on how to translate our priorities for the years to come into action, notably to foster growth and to create more jobs, especially for youth. We have a solid offer on the table and we now want to discuss it further with EU Member States and with African partners so that this offer materializes into something concrete and visible. More than ever citizens on both sides of the Mediterranean need to see that the Africa-Europe strategic partnership is a reality which goes beyond words."
Today's proposal identifies three objectives for building an EU-Africa alliance to address common global and regional challenges:
- a stronger mutual engagement and increased cooperation bilaterally and in the international arena, based on common values and shared interests,
- security, on land and on sea, and the fight against transnational threats
- sustainable and inclusive economic development in Africa, in order to create the jobs that the continent needs.
Concrete actions are proposed around two mains strands.
The first one aims to achieve more resilient states and societies, through closer cooperation and action in order to prevent conflicts, improve conflict management; strengthen governance systems, and manage migration and mobility.
The second strand will aim to create more and better jobs, especially for youth. It develops concrete proposals for attracting responsible and sustainable investment, for example with the recently proposed External Investment Plan, which is expected to leverage up to €44 billion of private investment. Further proposals concern the cooperation in renewable energy, agriculture, agribusiness and the blue economy as well as advancement of knowledge and skills. For example, the Commission proposes to launch an African Youth Facility, which will expand the scope of Erasmus+, or to support digital innovation in Africa.
The Joint Communication will now be presented to the Council and the European Parliament.
Today, the Commission also presented its Digital4Development approach, outlining ideas on how to promote information and communication technologies in developing countries and mainstream digitalisation into EU development policy.
The EU is Africa's closest neighbour and main partner. Collectively, the EU is Africa's main foreign investor, main trading partner (offering free access to the EU market via Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA), Free Trade Agreements and the Everything But Arms initiative), a key security provider (through the African Peace Facility alone, the EU channelled substantial funding amounting to over EUR 2 billion since 2004), and its first source of remittances and ODA (€21 billion 2015 EU collectively). An ever closer network of human contacts and exchanges strengthens the bonds between the peoples.
The policy priorities and initial set of concrete initiatives set out today, to be coordinated and implemented with EU Member States and further developed jointly with African partners, come in response to Africa's own Agenda 2063 and build on the EU Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy.
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