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Questions and Answers: The “European Union Strategy for Africa”


Friday, 14 October 2005

Questions and Answers: The “European Union Strategy for Africa”

Questions and Answers: The “European Union Strategy for Africa”
1. What is the EU Strategy for Africa?
With this communication, the European Commission proposes the framework for a strategic partnership between the European Union and Africa. It sets out the way on how to support Africa’s efforts to get the continent back on track towards sustainable development and attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It focuses on key requirements for sustainable development such as peace and security, good and effective governance, trade, interconnectivity, social cohesion and environmental sustainability. In addition, it reaffirms the commitment to increase EU aid to Africa and to improve aid effectiveness.

2. Why is the Commission preparing a new EU Strategy for Africa?
Despite much progress, Africa’s road towards sustainable development remains long:
- Every 30 seconds, an African child dies of malaria,
- Malnutrition and unsafe drinking water are widespread throughout the continent,
40% of all Africans are still living on less then one EURO a day,
- three out of every four persons who die from AIDS are Africans,
- one African out of five lives in a country affected by war or violent conflict,
- eighteen out of the twenty poorest countries in the world are African (in terms of per-capita income),
- Africa is the only part of the developing world where life expectancy has been falling over the last 30 years.
Without substantial additional political will and financial resources Africa will only be able to reach most of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), not by the target year of 2015, but by 2050. As the biggest donor of development aid and the biggest trading partner of Africa, the European Union has assumed its responsibility. It has acted quickly and decisively to support Africa’s development: The European Council decided in June 2005 to make more resources available for development and to make Africa a particular focus of European development policy: The new EU Strategy for Africa sets out the framework of this policy based on the principles of equality, partnership and ownership.

3. What are the main themes of the EU Strategy for Africa?
The Strategy focuses on the key requirements without which sustainable development in Africa will not be possible: peace, security and good governance. It subsequently looks into action on key areas that create the necessary economic environment for development such as economic growth, trade and infrastructure. Finally, the strategy pushes for investing into areas with an important and direct impact on the fulfilment of the MDGs such as health and education, sanitation, and environment.
To address the key conditions for sustainable development, the EU strategy for Africa proposes inter alia a Governance Initiative and a Partnership for Infrastructure.

4. What does the EU’s commitment for “more, better and faster” mean for Africa?
The EU Strategy for Africa reaffirms the EU’s development aid commitment to do more, better and faster, made at the June 2005 European Council, to Africa:
Finance: At least 50% of the additional annual budget made available for development aid by 2010 will go to Africa. EU Aid to Africa will increase by two-thirds from 17 billion EUR in 2003 to a total of 25 billion EUR / year in 2010 (approx. figures);
Budgetary support will increasingly be used to implement development projects faster and strengthen African ownership;
Coordination among EU donors should be strengthened through concrete initiatives proposed in the Strategy; in this sense, it proposes to elaborate an Action Plan in 2006 enabling progress on issues such as Joint Programming.
Coherence with other policy areas such as trade, agriculture, fisheries and migration will be strengthened.

5. Which other concrete projects does the EU propose in its strategy?
To deepen the partnership between Europe and Africa, the EU Strategy proposes the following additional initiatives:
Twinning partnerships between universities, schools, municipalities, businesses, parliaments and civil society;
Creation of a pan-European voluntary service for young people with skills to share who are interested in Africa’s development;
Building on the experience and success of the Erasmus programme, a similar programme for student exchange between Africa and Europe will be examined.
6. How have relations between the EU and Africa changed?

The relations between the European Union and Africa are not new. They have evolved over the decades into a strong partnership based on common interests and mutual recognition. Yet, the relations between the EU and Africa have for too long been too fragmented between different policy areas and different approaches. The impact of EU policies is greater if all 25 Member States and the European Commission pull in the same direction and speak with one voice. Neither Europe nor Africa can ignore the three main opportunities for change that allow for building a single, comprehensive and long-term strategic EU-Africa framework:

One Africa: Many African countries have shown an impressive economic and social development in recent years. The African Union (AU) and NEPAD (New Economic Partnership for African Development) have rallied the continent around a process of political and economic integration.
One Europe: The European Union’s potential has increased with 25 Member States, but so have the challenges. The EU must improve coherence and coordination and make its aid more effective.
Common Objectives: Sustainable development in Africa is in Europe’s interest: economically, politically and strategically. A cross-cutting objective in the “EU strategy for Africa” is the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on the African continent.
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