The European Business Council for Africa

Africa, a continent of strategic importance for the EU, has been in the spotlight of EU attention in recent years for a variety of reasons. In 2020, the Cotonou Agreement, which had governed EU-sub-Saharan Africa relations since 2000, was set to expire. The European Commission and EU High Representative adopted a joint communication in 2020, charting the way towards a new strategy for Africa. However, the sixth EU African Union Summit, planned for the end of 2020, was postponed due to the global pandemic. Thus, 2021 appears to be the next key year for EU-Africa relations, in light of the planned summit and the prospective adoption of both a new EU strategy for Africa and the post-Cotonou agreement, expected to transform these relations into a 'partnership of equals'. The EU's long-term budget – the multiannual financial framework (MFF) – has also featured high on the EU's agenda. The expiry of the previous MFF (2014-2020) in December 2020 and the entry into force of the new, restructured MFF for the 2021-2027 period in January 2021 coincided with efforts to reinvigorate and relaunch relations with Africa. Financial support is one of the key tools in the EU's external action, and, as before, it will also underpin future relations with Africa. This briefing aims to map the main EU financing instruments of relevance to Africa, including the funds that are outside the EU budget. It also points out the main novelties in the new MFF that have an impact on financing for Africa, such as the inclusion of the European Development Fund in the EU budget and the merging of most previous instruments into a single one, the NDICI (Global Europe Instrument). In the next seven years, the EU aims to spend its funds in a more flexible and streamlined way. This would enable it to respond quickly to crises and urgent needs in Africa and the rest of the world, to better coordinate its spending with its partners following a 'Team Europe' approach, and to leverage additional investment, including from the private sector, to boost growth and reduce the gap in official development assistance needed to achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030.

Please find the full briefing here