Green transformation in Africa-Europe relations:​ ​linking energy and adaptation with economic transformation

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This report is the outcome of a partnership initiative launched in 2021 by the European Think Tanks Group (ETTG) and the Africa-based Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Our initiative seeks to advance Africa-Europe relations in the run up to the 6th EU-AU summit in Brussels (17-18 February 2022) and contribute to effective follow-up and implementation of the decisions taken there.


Key messages

  • Energy is key in Africa’s economic diversification and industrialization, and therefore also for AU-EU relations: this is what a shared narrative should focus on. Social innovations should not be overlooked and underinvested in AU-EU collaboration; they are crucial for the energy transition.

  • AU-EU cooperation can add value in managing transitions and building capacity for long-term strategies towards green economies. The question should be less about “gas or no gas” and more focused on context related visions and timelines in line with Africa’s need for industrialization and the Paris Agreement.

  • Investing in these institutional capacities needs long term finance in institutions for which the EU could play an important role. Against this backdrop, the AU and EU should also start discussions on how climate neutrality strategies will impact trade and new value chains. So far, fossil fuels constitute a large share of exports from Africa to Europe.

  • Climate adaptation is not only a local issue, but also a macroeconomic concern, joint efforts are needed linking economic transformation, employment and the vulnerability of countries as a whole. 

  • Both Africa and Europe should push to achieve the Global Adaptation Goal and push for ambitious outcomes from the work programme. Europe should ensure it acts as an adaptation ally for Africa, supporting efforts that concretely address African adaptation needs.

Read the full paper here.

Green transformation in Africa-Europe relations ETTG:ISS:UNDP series

Authors: Elisabeth Hege, Damien Barchiche and Sébastien Treyer (IDDRI).

Acknowledgements: The authors wish to thank Aimee-Noel Mbiyozo (ISS Africa), Charles Nyandiga (UNDP), Geert Laporte (ETTG) and Daniele Fattibene (ETTG) for reviewing the report. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors.

This report is part of a special series on Africa-EU relations in the run-up and follow-up of the 2022 AU-EU summit, produced by ETTG members in cooperation with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS Africa) and UNDP Africa.

Photo by Thomas Richter on Unsplash.

The views are those of the authors and not necessarily those of ETTG.


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