EU-Africa relations - Editorial

At the end of November, African and European Heads of State will meet for their 5th Summit since 2000.

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    The Europe-Africa relationship has not always been a good news story. The current partnerships, such as the Joint Africa-EU Strategy and the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, are no longer able to generate major interest and excitement. Step by step, the grand ambitions and aspirations seem to be replaced by short-term crisis management and growing indifference. Undigested history, structural dependency and vested interests still play a major role in the troubled relationship. Clearly, the recipes of the past no longer work.

    To rebuild mutual trust, both Europe and Africa will have to design new and more effective types of partnerships and shake off past habits and practices. Both continents urgently need to find credible alternatives to the increasingly contested actions of China and a growing group of new partners that take a strong interest in Africa. At least on paper, the potential for strong mutual interests and shared global agendas between Europe and Africa has never been more promising than today. Both continents are ‘condemned’ to step up their cooperation in various domains.

    Against this background, ECDPM invited a mix of authors – mainly African – with different areas of expertise to write up their perspectives on the evolving partnership. We are happy to present a variety of contributions, each touching upon one or more key burning issues. They focus on the overall state of the partnership, the shared values that are sometimes applied in an inconsistent manner, the complex peace and security and migration agendas, knowledge production, structural economic transformation and the Economic Partnership Agreements, the increasing use of innovative technologies to empower African societies, and the young generations as committed promoters of change.

    The contributions are written by (former) officials, representatives from the private sector, civil society and think tanks, academia, journalists and young innovators. Some of the African authors are particularly critical about the partnership with the EU, while others are more moderate. Beyond the façade of the formal partnership with its multitude of official programmes, institutions and meetings, the various articles help to discover another Africa and another Europe with confident, mostly young generations that are showing their creative and innovative force. All contributors have one thing in common: they want to break with the stereotypes and habits of the past and change the course of action in the Europe-Africa relationship!

    We hope that you will enjoy reading these contributions in our newly designed magazine.

    Read the full magazine issue

    Africa-Europe relations: Time to reboot – Volume 6, Issue 5 (November/December 2017)
    'To rebuild mutual trust, both Europe and Africa will have to design new and more effective types of partnerships and shake off past habits and practices.'
    16 November 2017
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