The IV EU-Africa Summit was an opportunity, among others, for leaders of both sides to think strategically about their collective continental interests and values, in the framework of a long-shared, complex and varied relationship. The outputs reflect the underlying desire to proceed the relationship on basis of the reality, and the recognition of the need for a political and mental shift in the way the EU-Africa partnership is perceived. This does not mean that there are no disagreements, but each side is becoming clearer about what it wants. The evident shift towards a more economic focus – from aid to investment, from assistance to economic opportunities – is an example of this ongoing shift towards a win-win partnership that is based in a clear definition of interests.
One of the ongoing challenges is to overcome negative perceptions on both sides (from Africa about the EU – “EU imposes agendas”, “EU double standards”, “EU patronizing attitude” – and from Europe regarding Africa: “Africa does not implement”, “Africa is just interested in EU funds”). Contentious issues and contradictions need, therefore, to be tackled up vigorously and with open discussions – bearing in mind the broader context of wide opportunities and existing potential for increased cooperation in numerous areas. Managing expectations and diversity of objectives will certainly remain a delicate balancing act.
This publication approaches some of the issues involved in the reshaping of EU-Africa relations in the recent past and for the next few years. Several authors, from Europe and from Africa, assess the partnership’s achievements so far and also the upcoming challenges in accommodating diverging interests and effectively responding to global challenges, so as to generate the famous win-win outcomes all partners are looking for.
The e-publication is produced on the initiative of two Portuguese organisations – the Center for International Studies (CEI, of ISCTE-IUL University) and the Marquês Valle Flor Institute (IMVF) -, jointly with the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), in the framework of Europe-Africa Policy Research Network (EARN), with the support of the Portuguese Cooperation. It draws together in one edited volume a selection of contributions, articles and interviews. Most articles are presented in the original language (in English and in Portuguese).
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