Looking Beyond 2013: Are Africa-Europe Relations Still Fit for Purpose?

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    The European Think-Tanks Group (ETTG) held a conference to take on 28 October 2013 in Brussels. Participants from both Africa and Europe reflected on both horizontal and thematic issues pertaining to the partnership.

    On crosscutting issues, participants noted that a number of historical biases and contentious issues need to be addressed to speed up the political dialogue between the two continents. Some of these issues include:

    • Revive the partnership at the highest political level, notably by airing tensions that hinder political dialogue by addressing contentious (political) issues such as the EPAs
    • Build on what works and capitalize on low-hanging fruits (i.e. alliances in global fora such as on the post-2015 discussions)
    • Breathe new life into the partnership. This requires two key actions. First, accepting a view of Africa as a continent of opportunities. Secondly, addressing inconsistencies in European external action by ensuring that European institutions and European countries speak with one voice and are consistent if applying conditionality.
    • Focus on traction and added value of the partnership.

    The thematic discussions encouraged participants to look into specific issues and identify key recommendations per theme. On governance the key message emerging from the session concerned the need to move away from conditionality and towards co-responsibility by supporting African homegrown initiatives without necessarily compromising European values. Regarding peace and security, participants recognized that cooperation in this area allowed the two continents to jointly develop a framework that is now pivotal in dealing with the peace and security challenges in Africa. It is therefore important to build on these successes and explore new areas of cooperation such as around the New Deal.

    On issues of economic cooperation, participants noted that the discussion around food security needs to move beyond financing and incorporate a dimension of Policy Coherence for Development. Regarding support to the development of the African private sector, participants noted that beyond regulatory frameworks, one of the key hindrances to the development of small and medium enterprises in Africa is access to financing. They highlighted the need to address this challenge by encouraging banks to develop new regulations to adapt to the emergence of the private sector. 

    For more information, see the event page of the ETTG Conference

    Read the Conference Report

    The permanent URL of this page is www.ecdpm.org/ettg2013-report


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