A new impetus for the Africa-EU Partnership (Communication)

EESC opinion: A new impetus for the Africa-EU Partnership (Communication)

Key points:

  • Both the European Union and Africa are experiencing profound political, economic and societal changes, and this situation offers opportunities to reshape and deepen the partnership. At this juncture, economic and social stakeholders and organized civil society should be further involved, and their role should include not only consultation, but also monitoring policy implementation.
  • The most important model that the EU can offer is its own cross-border cooperation and supranational institutions. In this sense, large-scale cross-border projects, such as infrastructure projects, should be supported, insofar as African countries involved agree to cooperate among themselves. The recent transition of some EU member states to a democratic society and to a functional, competitive and inclusive market economy could also be interesting examples to look at.
  • Sustainable economic development in Africa is hindered by severe constraints (such as intensive exploitation of natural resources, the impact of climate change, food and water shortages, etc.) that in many cases lead to an irregular migration often run by organised crime. The EU can respond by means of the new European Consensus on Development, its European neighbourhood policy and agenda on migration, and by developing relationships based on the true concept of partnership. Along with genuine representatives of Africa's civil society and social partners, the EESC can make a key contribution to the improvement of democracy and human rights.
  • Given that education, the non-discriminatory transfer of knowledge and unfettered access to culture are strategically important for cooperation and the sharing of common values, as well as for opening up good prospects to a considerable number of young Africans, the future EU-Africa partnership should extend successful European programmes such as Erasmus+ to Africa, and encourage and support financially partnerships between European and African universities. Good quality education programmes and strategies to combat social exclusion can put a stop to religious fundamentalism in some African countries.
  • Good governance clauses should be introduced in all relevant agreements between the EU and third countries or regions with a view to promoting sustainable development. A prerequisite for sustainable development is a responsible, transparent, active, fair, inclusive, efficient and participatory policy framing process which upholds the principles of the rule of law. For this reason, the future Africa-EU partnership should promote the empowerment of women and young people and recognise their contribution to peace state building, economic growth, technological development, poverty reduction, health and wellbeing, and cultural and human development. All forms of violence and social, economic and political discrimination against women must be eliminated from the African continent.