Today (6 April) the African Union Commission (AUC) and the European Commission hold their annual College-to-College meeting in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. College-to-College is the biggest political EU-Africa meeting of the year. Both parties formally cooperate through this forum, enshrined in the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES). The JAES was, for the first time, adopted in 2007 as the first and only intercontinental partnership strategy of the EU.
The EU-Africa partnership is currently governed by Roadmap 2014-2017, which sets concrete steps within five areas – peace and security, democracy and human rights, human development, sustainable development and growth as well as global and emerging market issues. On top of the roadmap, the mutual cooperation is governed also by a few agreements, such as the Cotonou Agreement with Sub-Saharan Africa, the Euro-Med Partnership with North Africa and the Joint Africa-EU Strategy. These frameworks include political, economic and development aspects.
One of the most important elements of the mutual relations is Official Development Assistance (ODA). Africa is the biggest recipient of the collective EU development aid, with approximately €141 billion having been allocated between 2007 and 2013. In 2014-2020 total European Commission’s ODA allocations for Africa will amount to more than €31 billion. Annually, 40 percent of all EU’s humanitarian assistance goes for projects in Africa, saving millions of lives via the support for health care, shelter for the displaces and nutrition.
The EU also provides significant sum to protect and promote universal human rights. In 2014-2020, the EU aims to provide more than €50 million to the effective implementation of the African human rights instruments and to the African Governance Architecture (a mechanism that contributes to harmonizing and implementing standards for democracy and human rights in the countries of Africa), as well as to civil society. The most important financial channel for the redistribution of ODA is the European Development Fund (EDF). Except for the ODA, the EU is also Africa’s biggest trade partner and its primary source of imports and exports. Around 20 percent of all foreign direct investment in Africa comes from EU firms.