Redefining Europe-Africa Relations

In this study for FES Prof. Robert Kappel analyses the economic relationship between the European Union and Africa and puts forward proposals for a reorientation.

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The last year was supposed to be a pivotal year for the relationship between Europe and its neighbouring continent. In March 2020 the EU Commission presented a draft for a new Africa-Strategy and the AU-EU Summit was planned to take place in October. “Taking the partnership to the next level” has been the goal expressed by the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. Since spring 2020 FES is closely accompanying the developments and has dedicated a special focus to the EU-African relations, raising the question which proposals the EU should bring into the centre (#whatstheofffer). More information is available on the thematic page www.fes.de/en/together-towards-justainability.

Due to the Corona pandemic, a few things have been shaken up. The AU-EU Summit has been postponed into the second half of 2021 and the danger exists that organising the measures to contain the pandemic and coping with its effects will overshadow a strategic reorientation of EU-African relations. Professor Emeritus Robert Kappel argues that these relations have been on a downward trajectory for some time and that the Covid-19 pandemic shows once more that the prevailing asymmetry is no longer acceptable as we move into the future

A fundamental renewal is necessary

A substantial reorientation regarding the political and economic cooperation of the two neighbouring continents is key to achieve sustainable development as put forward by the 2030 Agenda, reduce inequalities and react to the short- but also the long-term aftermaths of the pandemic. In short: to advance a social-ecological transformation for a post-corona world.

With his analysis „Redefining Europe-Africa Relations” (french version: Coopération economique entre l'Afrique et l'Europe) Robert Kappel delivers facts and figures regarding the economic relationship with Europe and Africa but also takes a look into the future thus revealing how – especially against the backdrop of the Corona pandemic – future cooperation could look like. In his view, it is also in the European interest to fundamentally reform the cooperation with Africa and to reduce the historically grown dependence. If not, African states might turn away from Europe and towards new actors. He demands a revision of the plan put forward by the European Commission. This extends especially to economic and trade relations, to a focus on jobs and the eradication of poverty, the value chain and a readjustment towards sustainability.

Kappel, Robert

Redefining Europe-Africa relations

Berlin, 2021

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Lennart Oestergaard
Lennart Oestergaard
030 269 35 75 29

Africa Department

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