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Commission communication: EU partnership with Africa

The new EU Portuguese Presidency is preparing the EU-Africa summit in Lisbon in December 2007.  The latest communication from the EU in preparing for this meeting is the Commission/Council Secretariat Joint Paper which appeared this month:  Beyond Lisbon: Making the EU-Africa Strategic Partnership Work.  Its point of departure is the EU Africa Strategy subtitled Towards a Strategic Partnership, endorsed by the European Council in December 2005.  The strategy called for a strategic change in the EU policy from a strategy for Africa to a political partnership with Africa, with emphasis on equality.  The latest document points to the African Union (AU) as EU’s main partner and proposes to lend support to strengthen this institution and appoint a permanent EU delegation to Addis Ababa to partner with the AU and to strengthen political dialogue with various pan- and regional African institutions and organisations, also between the European Parliament and the Pan-African Parliament.   In the introduction, the paper is clear about the reasons for the new initiative, such as increased African economic development, improved African cooperation and sharper competition from other parts of the world, specifically from China.

A total of EUR 5.6 billion from the 10th European Development Fund will be allocated to the partnership for the period 2008-2013, and will be complemented by a new financial fund for infrastructure in Africa, implemented jointly with the European Investment Bank.

Unfortunately, the paper says very little on education and research per se, except that they need strengthening, and nothing in detail.  It does mention the need for people-centred partnerships, among them trade unions, universities, youth organisations, private sector organisations, cultural and educational institutions.  It specifically mentions the need for teachers.  The joint paper is basically organised thematically: (1) peace and security, (2) democratic governance and human rights, (3) trade and regional integration, and (4) other key development issues.  These are very comprehensive themes with a host of sub-themes that will need involvement from research and education.  ACA recommends reading the paper, not least in order to propose detailing the role of research and education.  

MOE Rwanda
University of Gambia