EU-Africa Partnership: Boosting Agriculture, Eliminating Hunger

Written by | Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

The EU’s plans to strike a ‘strategic partnership’ with Africa were one the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Portuguese government, which holds the six-month rotating EU presidency, is anxious to conclude the agenda by the summer. “We will have this year a new African Commission with new priorities, so I think the stars are aligning now for stronger EU-African relations,” says Jeremy Pellet, CEO of Expertise France, a French agency for international technical expertise and development aid. To deal with the economic and development impact of the crisis, the future EU external funds will be essential to help African countries recover from this crisis. The EU’s €70.8 billion Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument for 2021-2027 (NDICI) is intended to support sustainable development not only in Africa, but also in Asia, the Americas, the Pacific and the Caribbean.
In the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis, the EU is currently establishing a new ‘strategic partnership’ with Africa, of which agriculture is a key focus. The aims of the EU’s flagship environmental policy, the Green Deal, combined with the COVID-19 crisis underscoring the need for resilient food systems, have seen sustainability placed at the forefront of the EU-Africa agenda when it comes to agriculture. The question now is how this partnership can help shape future sustainable growth strategies in global food systems in an equitable way which ensures both the livelihoods of African farmers as well as the food security of the continent. To achieve these objectives, future agrifood partnerships between the EU and Africa must take into account the realities of farming in Africa, especially in the context of a drive for a greener transition, agrifood stakeholders have warned.
“Compared to Europe, we need an African green transition that enables Africa to make the most of technology and innovation, but in a sustainable way and in partnership with the different parts of society, including the private sector,” says Antonie Delpot, head of South Africa and strategic partnerships for Africa and the Middle East for Syngenta, highlighted. As Africa’s main trading partner is the EU, with trade with the EU accounting for 31% of Africa’s exports and 29% of its imports, it is important that the regulation impacting both continents is “fit for purpose” in order for to maximize the potential for free trade agreements. One way in which differences between both continents must be acknowledged between the two continents is in climatic and pest pressures, whereby, in contrast to Europe, the warm climates in Africa are the perfect breeding ground for pests.

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