EU and Africa unveil new partnership

Jul 02, 2007 02:00 AM

A European Union (EU)-Africa strategy that outlines a long-term partnership has been unveiled. The partnership will focus on trade, aid and position the 27-member EU block to access energy and oil resources from Africa that are also being eyed by China.
Louis Michel, the European Commissioner for development and humanitarian aid, said the strategy would be adopted during the second EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon in December.
"The Lisbon summit will offer the best opportunity to demonstrate that Europeans stand ready to launch audacious initiatives and to reaffirm our commitment towards Africa," Michel explained.

He said the Lisbon summit would take the EU-Africa dialogue back to the highest political level.
"The emergence of a genuine strategic partnership between our two continents is a priority for the EU. It will help us define joint answers to our common challenges and to Africa's development needs," Michel said recently.
"If the EU wants to remain a privileged partner and make the most of its relations with Africa, it must be willing to reinforce, and in some areas reinvent, the current relationship," the European Commission's policy paper released on June 27 explained.

The EU is Africa's biggest trading partner, with trade totalling over EUR 196 bn (Sh 432,000 bn) last year compared to China's EUR 43 bn (Sh 91,590 bn).
The EU will propose five policy initiatives at the Lisbon meeting which include a partnership on energy, climate change, migration, mobility and employment. Other initiatives to be proposed include EU-Africa partnership in democratic governance plus political and institutional architecture.

The EU will also propose a governance forum with the African Union that is aimed at addressing issues like human rights, rule of law and democracy.
The EU hopes the Lisbon summit would embody this innovative approach and reinvent the EU-Africa partnership.

Source: New Vision
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