Africa-Europe Foundation
Report 2024

The State of
Africa-Europe

Taking a dynamic approach, our report independently assesses the status of commitments made at the 6th EU-AU Summit in February 2022, focusing on concrete opportunities for joint collaboration.

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We call for a shift in mindset towards positive narratives and active, inclusive engagement, urging institutions to break down silos and adapt to future challenges. 

As we look ahead to 2024, a year dedicated to education within the African Union (AU), it’s crucial to focus on enhancing the skills of health workers. This effort is key to creating robust and enduring health systems across the continent. Let’s explore how capacity building, strategic partnerships, and innovative solutions are shaping Africa’s healthcare landscape, from vaccine production to tackling the health impacts of climate change.

With 2024 being the year for Education in the AU, skills strengthening for health workforces should be front and centre as a catalyst for building long-term, resilient health systems. Capacity building is however just one tool, and must be complemented by strengthened infrastructure, digital strategies, and emergency preparedness.

The Africa CDC is pivotal in coordinating and strengthening continental health responses. Regarding vaccine manufacturing, Team Europe’s significant investments align with the AU’s goal to produce 60% of Africa’s vaccines by 2040. Despite the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, Africa’s coverage is at 51.8%. It is imperative to ensure sustained investments in and expedite the implementation of initiatives supporting local manufacturing and the distribution of medical products.

The convening of the first health day at COP28 brought increased focus to the profound impact of climate change on human health, the severity of diseases, and the capacity of supply chains and health systems to react. A practical solution at the nexus of climate and health saw increased momentum in Dubai: clean cooking. Collaboration between Europe and Africa can raise political commitment and investment in clean cooking to match the scale of the challenge and support the establishment of governmental clean cooking ‘delivery units,’ with Kenya and Sierra Leone as champions.

Health & Pandemic Preparedness

Addressing health challenges requires a resilient health workforce.

Additional efforts such as the Youth Mobility for Africa initiative, which is backed by the EU, ERASMUS+, and the African Skills Initiative, foster connections and professional growth for youth.

A heightened emphasis on youth training and mobility across all cooperation areas can support critical policy frameworks like the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Science, Culture, Education

Thriving collaboration in Science, Culture, and Education is propelled by the recently adopted AU-EU Innovation Agenda, serving as a framework for intensified exchanges.

In the face of global challenges like climate change and economic instability, innovative financial strategies are crucial. This chapter explores the COP28 Declaration’s plan to tackle these issues, focusing on new financial strategies and taxation mechanisms. It also discusses the importance of curbing illicit financial flows between Africa and Europe, guided by the 2015 Mbeki report’s recommendations.

The COP28 Declaration on a Global Climate Finance Framework set clear recommendations to meet past commitments, free up fiscal space, and widen concessional financing sources. Advocacy in 2024 will build on these conversations to broaden the use of climate-resilient debt clauses and possibly expand them to include pandemics, rechannel additional Special Drawing Rights, replenish the International Development Association, the World Bank’s concessional financing arm, and develop innovative and effective.

International taxation and strengthened domestic resource mobilisation are necessary to foster self-sufficiency for country budgets eaten up by interest rates, loan repayments and converging crises.

 

Effectively addressing illicit financial flows necessitates a heightened political commitment from both Africa and Europe, acknowledging Europe’s role as a significant source of risk and destination for such flows. The 2015 Mbeki report advises addressing mispricing, transfer pricing, profit shifting, and confronting criminal and corrupt elements.

Sustainable Finance

Sustainable finance related initiatives and reforms marked all cross-continental and multilateral agendas.

The lack of common definitions, processes and explicit objectives for monitoring partnerships is a major challenge, exacerbated by the lack of data, particularly in relation to Member States.

The rapid ratification of AfCFTA is a critical tool addressing supply chain fragmentation at various levels to ramp up extra-regional trade, which sits at just 18% lacking infrastructure investments.

The 1st Africa Climate Summit and COP28 emphasized the potential of carbon markets to complement climate action and generate financing. By combining Europe’s expertise with Africa’s renewable energy capacity, workforce, and resources, they can lead in carbon pricing and trading for socio-economic growth. Collaborating on carbon pricing, credits, and national market plans, with investments in infrastructure and local value chains, will require developing skills, policies, and governance structures. It’s crucial for the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) metrics to include African countries for inclusive policy development recognizing externalities.

The ocean governance and blue economy sector represent a strategic domain of cooperation that is yet to be central to the AU-EU dialogue. Not only is the ocean the largest ecosystem but also a huge economic system at the heart of coastal communities, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and restoration and preservation of biodiversity. Together, Africa and Europe could drive the much-needed transformation of global multilateral systems, working towards ratifying and operationalizing the High Seas Treaty and the Global Plastic Treaty.

Climate & Development

The Africa-Europe partnership merges climate action and economic development together to ensure sustainable growth.

More preventive robust actions should be explored to solve burgeoning crises and ensure attention is paid to governance and economic development, complementing an EU focus which tends to emphasise security and counterterrorism
measures.

The EU should sustain support for Africa-led peace initiatives, acknowledging the long-term effort required to strengthen the AU’s security capacity in the current landscape. This objective requires sustained and adequate financing, which is arguably critical given a region’s security context can lay the foundation for sustained development or undermine progress completely, for example impacting the implementation of Agendas 2030 and 2063. By enable a stable environment, we set the stage for the successful implementation economic activities and development initiatives, smooth trade, the preservation of culture, and access to education and health services.

Peace & Security

Despite progress in peace and security, the surge in military coups since 2020 underscores challenges in addressing extremism, insecurity, and economic instability.

Only 27.2% of African migrants are in Europe, with most moving within Africa due to economic push and pull factors.

With Africa’s growing labour force set to add 796 million people by 2050, the Africa-Europe Partnership’s focus on talent and idea mobility, already exemplified by the Youth Mobility for Africa initiative, must have the strategic foresight to plan for this opportunity in knowledge and workforce exchange by ensuring alignment in the supply and demand of skills as well as efficient processes for the recognition of foreign qualifications.

Action is needed to address biased visa regimes, prevent irregular migration, and enforce human rights. Cooperation among EU Member States is vital for the creation and implementation of comprehensive and sustainable migration policies, especially with the 2024 European Parliament elections approaching.

Migration & Mobility

Global migration has increased, but at a slower rate than population growth.

The next AU-EU ministerial meeting should provide an opportunity to establish indicators and frameworks for systematic data collection in preparation for the 7th AU-EU Summit, scheduled to take place in one year’s time, in 2025.

Words from our partners

REPORT 2024

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