The European Commission has launched the first phase of a new programme that will foster Africa’s integration process at continental level – the first ever EU programme in development and cooperation that covers Africa as a whole. The so-called Pan-African Programme will fund activities in a broad range of areas and offer new possibilities for the EU and Africa to work together. Today’s decision will launch projects for the period 2014-2017, with a total allocation of €415 million.
The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, said: “The challenges with which we are faced can no longer be tackled within national borders. This is as true in Europe as it is in Africa or elsewhere. This is why I have proposed to create a Pan-African programme to find solutions at regional and continental scale and support the process of African integration, where the African Union plays a critical role. The alliance between Africa and Europe is indispensable, today more than ever. This programme will make it even stronger”.
EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs commented: “The major innovation of this programme is that it allows the EU to link up the cooperation it has with Northern Africa, South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. It will also help us to achieve better policy coherence for development by building synergies between development cooperation and other EU policies.”
The Pan-African Programme, which was announced by President Barroso at the 4th Africa-EU summit in Brussels in April 2014, will amount to €845 million from 2014 to 2020. It will contribute, amongst others, to increased mobility on the African continent, better trade relations across regions and also better equip both continents for addressing trans-national and global challenges, such as migration and mobility, climate change or security. The first phase that was launched today will include projects ranging from sustainable agriculture, environment, and higher education to governance, infrastructure, migration, information and communication technology, as well as research and innovation.
Concrete projects will, for example, support election observation missions operated by the African Union in its member states or improve the governance of migration and mobility within Africa and between Africa and the EU. Some initiatives will benefit citizens directly, such as a student’s academic exchange programme or the harmonisation of academic curricula across a range of African universities facilitating the mobility of African students and academics.
Africa’s continental integration has become a key priority for both the African Union and the EU. The Pan-African Programme will provide a major contribution to the EU-Africa Partnership, which the two continents established in 2007 to put their relations on a new footing and to establish a strategic partnership, responding to mutual interests and based upon a strong political relationship and close cooperation in key areas. The programme, which is financed from the EU budget will be a key instrument for the European Commission to implement, in close cooperation with African partners, the joint political priorities of the roadmap which was adopted by African and EU Heads of State and Government during the 4th EU-Africa summit in April this year.