At this occasion, High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini said: "2017 is the year for a new impetus of the partnership between Europe and Africa: every obstacle we may face is a common challenge, and Africa's hope is our hope. A strong Africa matters to Europe; our friendship matters to our people. Only by joining forces and working in partnership can we provide our youth with a more hopeful and peaceful future. Today, we don't simply look at what we can do for Africa but what we can do with Africa, together".
Neven Mimica, Commissioner in charge of International Cooperation and Development, added: "We propose several ideas and concrete measures on how to translate our priorities for the years to come into action, notably to foster growth and to create more jobs, especially for youth. We have a solid offer on the table and we now want to discuss it further with EU Member States and with African partners so that this offer materializes into something concrete and visible. More than ever citizens on both sides of the Mediterranean need to see that the Africa-Europe strategic partnership is a reality which goes beyond words."
Today's proposal identifies three objectives for building an EU-Africa alliance to address common global and regional challenges:
- a stronger mutual engagement and increased cooperation bilaterally and in the international arena, based on common values and shared interests,
- security, on land and on sea, and the fight against transnational threats
- sustainable and inclusive economic development in Africa, in order to create the jobs that the continent needs.
Concrete actions are proposed around two mains strands.
The first one aims to achieve more resilient states and societies, through closer cooperation and action in order to prevent conflicts, improve conflict management;
strengthen governance systems, and manage migration and mobility.
The second strand will aim to create more and better jobs, especially for youth. It develops concrete proposals for attracting responsible and sustainable investment, for example with the recently proposed External Investment Plan, which is expected to leverage up to €44 billion of private investment. Further proposals concern the cooperation in renewable energy, agriculture, agribusiness and the blue economy as well as advancement of knowledge and skills. For example, the Commission proposes to launch an African Youth Facility, which will expand the scope of Erasmus+, or to support digital innovation in Africa.
The Joint Communication will now be presented to the Council and the European Parliament.
Today, the Commission also presented its Digital4Development approach, outlining ideas on how to promote information and communication technologies in developing countries and mainstream digitalisation into EU development policy.
The EU is Africa's closest neighbour and main partner. Collectively, the EU is Africa's main foreign investor, main trading partner (offering free access to the EU market via Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA), Free Trade Agreements and the Everything But Arms initiative), a key security provider (through the African Peace Facility alone, the EU channelled substantial funding amounting to over EUR 2 billion since 2004), and its first source of remittances and ODA (€21 billion 2015 EU collectively). An ever closer network of human contacts and exchanges strengthens the bonds between the peoples. The policy priorities and initial set of concrete initiatives set out today, to be coordinated and implemented with EU Member States and further developed jointly with African partners, come in response to Africa's own Agenda 2063 and build on the EU Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy.