Europe’s future in the current geopolitical context highly depends on the trajectory of developments on the African continent. For many reasons, historical but also economic and given sustainable development goals, Europe has to play a pivotal role in the development of Africa. It is welcomed that the new European Commission had made this a priority, and it should be one of equal political importance to initiatives such as the Green Deal.
In an innovative and comprehensive relationship with the African continent, a mutual win can emerge. Moreover, it can be a role model for multilateral cooperation for the 21st century, for managing interdependence. This should be an overarching EU policy objective. But this requires a radical game change in Europe’s policies with Africa, moving away from a development aid approach towards the framework conditions for investment and trade, taking into account the role of global value chains, research & innovation, and of capacity acceleration in a digitalised economy. Only these will bring lasting sustainable growth and employment for African people. It will also help to cope with the consequences of climate change and deal with emerging public health crises.
To help foster this approach, the High Level Group Africa Europe Partnership has been created (as a spin-off of the High Level Group on Trade Policy Innovation and the positive reception of its recommendations), pursuing a deep independent look at the current state of relations, including for example a questionable performance of decades of aid policies, but also identifying opportunities to boost trade, investment, research, and innovations, to offer recommendations on the future framework of an equal relationship between Europe and Africa. Indeed, a simple continuation of existing pathways, such as the Cotonou Agreements or the European Partnership Agreements, without radical change and adaptation to new contextual conditions, is no longer an option. Instead, a new approach is needed to reach mutually beneficial results for both Europe and Africa in a challenging global context.
This HLG is chaired by John Bruton, former Prime Minister of Ireland and former EU Ambassador to the USA.
The following people, from the European and national public sector, from corporations and from academia, gave their time and expertise to the work on Africa Europe partnership:
The HLG has its own research team, which prepares and follows-up meetings:
Stefan Schepers - Secretary General
Jacobo Truan - Research Fellow
Adam Sebesta - Research Fellow
Thomas Tugler - Research Fellow
Anna-Lena Bartz - Research Assistant