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The Africa-EU Partnership

The Africa-EU Strategic Partnership is the formal channel through which the European Union and the African continent work together. It is based on the Joint Africa-Europe Strategy that was adopted by Heads of State and Government at the second EU-Africa Summit in 2007. The current Roadmap 2014-2017 sets out concrete targets within five priority areas of cooperation agreed at the 4th EU-Africa Summit in 2014.

Africa has been pursuing its political and economic integration at the continental level. From the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) 50 years ago and even more so since the creation of the African Union (AU) in 2002, Africa has built continental institutions and established ambitious policies and initiatives in many key areas that are both important for the development of the continent and of direct interest to the EU. In this context, developing the relationship between the two partners has become a priority for both sides.  

It was in this spirit that African and European leaders, as well as the presidents of the continental institutions, came together at the Lisbon Summit in December 2007 to put their relations on a new footing and to establish a Strategic Partnership, based upon a strong political relationship and close cooperation in key areas.

The Africa-EU Partnership is based on shared values and aims at promoting common interests and achieving shared strategic objectives. It strives to bring Africa and Europe closer together through the strengthening of economic cooperation and the promotion of sustainable development, with both continents living side by side in peace, security, democracy, prosperity, solidarity and human dignity.

The Joint Africa-EU Strategy, which was adopted at the Lisbon Summit in 2007, constitutes the overarching long-term framework for Africa-EU relations. It is implemented through jointly identified priorities, which are of common interest to both the EU and Africa and significantly impact on the daily lives of citizens on both continents.

At the 4th EU-Africa Summit in Brussels, African and European Heads of State and Government adopted the Roadmap 2014-2017. It focuses the implementation of the Joint Strategy on five priority areas: 

  1.  Peace and security
  2.  Democracy, good governance and human rights
  3.  Human development
  4.  Sustainable and inclusive development and growth and continental integration
  5.  Global and emerging issues

Human development

According to the Roadmap 2014-2017 agreed at the 4th EU-Africa Summit in 2014, the strategic objective in this area of cooperation is to promote human capital development and knowledge; skills based societies and economies, in particular by strengthening the links between education, training, science and innovation, and to better manage mobility of people.

Science, technology and innovation

EU-Africa cooperation on science, technology and innovation (STI) is contributing to the attainment of all other socio-economic development objectives, including Sustainable Development Goals targets.

Key objectives in this area of cooperation are reinforced cooperation between research communities, creation of joint academic research programmes and the development of a long-term, jointly funded research and innovation partnership with a focus on food and nutrition security.

Higher education

Higher education plays a crucial role for economic and social development in catalysing sustainable development by producing high quality human resources and in disseminating the results of scientific and technical research.

Key objectives of Africa-EU cooperation in the area of higher education are the promoting top-quality mobility of African and European students, scholars, researchers as well as the support to the development of centres of excellence in Africa, particularly through the Pan-African University.

Mobility, migration and employment

Migration and mobility can bring benefits to Africa and the EU and a comprehensive approach to both issues is a powerful vehicle for boosting sustainable economic, social and environmental development.

Key objectives of Africa-EU cooperation in this area include the fostering of synergies between migration and development, i.e. by reducing the costs of remittances and enhancing the engagement of the diaspora, the improved organisation of labour mobility as well as enhanced cooperation to address the trafficking in human beings and irregular migration, and collaboration on international protection and asylum.


Higher Education

Higher education plays a crucial role for economic and social development in catalysing sustainable development by producing high quality human resources and in disseminating the results of scientific and technical research.

Universal access to quality education must be matched with a responsive higher education system responding to African challenges in infrastructure, financing, retention, training and retraining teachers, harmonisation of educational structures, providing appropriate and relevant skills, quality assurance, recognition of qualifications and research capacity.

In addition to specific, traditional capacity building actions, mobility in itself has a strong potential to improve the quality of higher education, by accelerating the use of transparency and recognition tools, and by helping institutions develop better services to send and receive foreign students and researchers.

Through mobility, institutional cooperation is amplified, as the institutions involved build partnerships and networks that can cast a critical eye on the global issues affecting both sides. International cooperation can only build on balanced partnerships and flows of people and ideas; this also ensures that knowledge grows through sharing, and that capacity and excellence are built on both sides.

The Expansion of the African Higher Education Harmonisation and Tuning pilot initiative (Tuning Africa II) is one of the concrete deliverables of the Higher Education partnership.