Africa    |   EU    |   Vol. 5 Issue 4   

The EU is committed to support partner countries through external policies and instruments. Emphasised in the Communication on the Future of Food and Farming of November 2017, the future common agricultural policy will play a greater role in enhancing policy coherence for sustainable development. Knowledge transfer, sharing of good practices, and reinforcing strategic policy cooperation and dialogue between the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU), should contribute to African job creation and to the development of its agricultural sector.

In this context, the European Commission has set up the Task Force Rural Africa, a group of experts that will provide expertise, advice and possible recommendations to strengthen European partnership with the African food and farming sectors. The Task Force consists of 11 appointed members, with expertise and experience in agriculture, agri-business or agroindustry, trade, development policy or migration related issues and first-hand knowledge of the agri-food sector in Africa.

Aims

This Task Force will provide expertise, advice and possible recommendations in order to enhance the role of the EU agrifood and agroindustrial sector. The aim is to work towards job creation, and sustainable development of the African continent. Also, to identify means to accelerate economic impact through fostering responsible EU private investment in support of African agriculture, agri-business and agroindustries in a sustainable way, taking into account existing cooperation frameworks.

Tasks

The group of experts is working on the following tasks:

  • providing advice on how to accelerate impact, based on a better coordination with existing initiatives; and how to focus on boosting public and private investments in African sustainable agriculture
  • examining how to best share knowledge and know-how to enable job creation and revenue-generating activities in rural Africa
  • identifying strategies to promote and prioritise agricultural policy and regulatory reform in African countries (in line with the Malabo Declaration) and facilitate EU responsible private investments, to boost intra-African trade as well as exports from African countries
  • identifying strategies to support African youth working in agriculture, agribusiness and agroindustry.
  • The group will issue a final executive report by January 2019 with recommendations and possible initiatives contributing to the Joint Africa-EU Strategy, the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Background

The Joint Africa-EU Strategy, signed in 2007, is considered the cornerstone of the partnership process, as it put the EU-Africa relations on a more formal footing. The Strategy addresses five priority areas including sustainable and inclusive development and continental integration.

In November 2015, the Valletta Summit also contributed to the partnership. EU and African leaders agreed on a number of concrete and operational measures on migration through the adoption of two key documents, a political statement and an action plan.

Celebrating 10 years since its adoption, 2017 was a particularly important year for EU-Africa relations. Highlighted by the AU-EU agriculture ministerial conference in July 2017 in Rome, the sector of agriculture and agri-food business are key areas in sustainable development and job creation for Africa.

The agriculture ministerial conference resulted in a list of tangible and realistic deliverables which also fed in the fifth AU-EU summit of November 2017. They include:

  • encouraging innovative funding to back EU agri-businesses prepared to invest with African partners in the sector
  • promoting partnerships between agricultural universities and research institutes, using educational exchange programmes
  • partnering African countries in developing and protecting their geographical indications
  • Deliverables also cover research and innovation, water use and management, as well as action on climate change, food loss and food waste.

And the fifth AU–EU summit of November 2017 focused on “Investing in youth for accelerated inclusive growth and sustainable development” and defined the priorities for the period 2018-2020. These priorities include mobilising investments for African structural sustainable transformation, and investing in people, education, science technology and skills development.

Support

Lead by the DG-AGRI (Agriculture and Rural Development) and DG-DEVCO (International Cooperation and Development), this Task Force also gets support from DG’s: EAC (Education and Culture), GROW (Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs), ENV (Environment), CNECT (Communications Networks, Content and Technology), RTD (Research and Innovation), SANTE (Health and Food Safety), CLIMA (Climate Action), and HOME (Migration and Home Affairs).

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