Relations between Africa and Europe: Mapping Africa’s Priorities

Negotiations around a new Africa-European Union (EU) strategy are expected to culminate
in its adoption at a summit in October 2020. African negotiators should ensure that the
continent’s priorities are integrated into the strategy. These include poverty reduction,
health, digital access, small and medium enterprises, remittances, transport infrastructure,
and the blue economy. More emphasis could also be given to Illicit financial flows, the brain
drain and debt cancellation. This report aims to contribute to the Africa-European Union (EU) negotiations towards a new strategy, which is expected to be adopted at the EU-African
Union (AU) Summit scheduled for October 2020. The AU started preparations for the Africa-EU strategy negotiations in 2018. In its 11th extraordinary session in November 2018, the body took the lead in continent-to-continent negotiations including on the Africa-EU strategy. That same year Carlos Lopes was appointed as the AU High Representative on negotiations of a new agreement with the EU post-2020. In February 2019, his office together with the AU Commission, presented a proposed AU strategy to the Permanent Representatives’ Committee for consideration ahead of the EU-AU Summit. However, the AU strategy is yet to be publicised. In March 2020, the European Commission and High Representative of the
Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy issued a joint communication proposing five key areas for consideration. These included green transition and energy access, digital transformation, sustainable growth and jobs, peace and governance, and migration and mobility. In June, the Council of the EU issued conclusions on the Africa-EU Strategy, which officially adopts the Commission’s proposal. This means the proposals in the communication
can be tabled for negotiations.