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European Commission discusses Africa Strategy

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Thursday, 29 September 2005

European Commission discusses Africa Strategy

European Commission discusses Africa Strategy with Africa’s regional organisations
Commissioner Louis Michel meets today Africa’s regional organisations to discuss the European Commission’s proposal for a new EU Strategy for Africa to be adopted on 12 October. The meeting follows on in-depth written consultation over the past two months on the major ideas of the Strategy. This Strategy should provide a common, comprehensive, and coherent framework for action for all EU Member States and the European Commission to support Africa’s efforts to reach the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
On Thursday 29 September, the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Mr Louis Michel, met with representatives from Africa’s regional economic communities (RECs) and the African Union (AU). This meeting marks the conclusion of a process of consultation where Africa’s organisations have been invited to share their views on the proposed EU Strategy. Commissioner Michel insisted on the importance of this consultation: ‘Too many times, policies have been written about or for, rather than with the African partners. It is absolutely crucial that this strategy reflects Africa’s vision and priorities.’
Recent years have seen the emergence of strong regional organisations in all parts of Africa and a continental level of political governance, namely the African Union (AU). Africa’s regional organisations are the key actors in the efforts to promote more regional trade and integration, which are key factors for peace and prosperity in Africa. “It is these organisations that will be the engines of Africa’s integration and cooperation and we should offer them our political and economic support and our experience of regional cooperation and integration”, said Commissioner Michel.

The Council and the Commission are preparing a strategy for Africa that is to be adopted in December. There are four parts to the strategy — Peace and Security, Governance, Regional Integration and Trade, Development Aid —with the following main commitments
i) Peace and Security
- Facilitate the African Peace Facility to support the African peace-keeping forces
- Strengthen the conflict prevention programmes
- Increase financial resources for post-conflict countries
- Study the question of natural resources management
- Stop the flow of weapons to conflict zones
ii) Governance
- Strengthen the African institutions, the African Union, NEPAD, and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM),
- Provide support for states fighting corruption, with more aid for states considered to be 'well governed',
- Provide support for political governance through, inter alia, election monitoring missions.
iii) Regional Integration and Trade
- Strengthen the infrastructures for regional integration
- Strengthen Africa's capacity for trade by a) supporting the development of a capacity for exporting, b) obtaining access to quota-free markets for the EPA countries, and c) simplifying the rules on product origin for products from Africa.
iv) Development Aid
- Bigger volumes and better quality (0.56% of the GDP in 2010, half is intended for Africa)
- A commitment to deliver humanitarian aid more quickly and efficiently
- Debt relief for the poorest countries
- Emphasis on the health and education sectors, including objectives for financial support for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.