Ready for a common Africa-Europe future? Our reflections beyond the 6th EU-AU summit

The 6th EU-AU summit, held in Brussels on 17-18 February 2022, marked an important milestone
in the relationship between the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU). After almost a
year and a half of delay, the summit provided leaders of both European and African countries
an opportunity to negotiate on a series of key topics that will shape the future of their relations.
Additionally, the summit provided a further opening for the regional bodies and their member
states to move away from an asymmetrical top-down relationship to a more vertical partnership
in which both sides negotiate deals based on sound analysis, trust and mutual respect.

Africa’s transition from a provider to a key actor of the global energy transition

Africa’s transition from a provider to a key actor of the global energy transition

Innovation for the energy transition is given a prominent role in the green recovery action plan for Africa and the European Union’s Green Deal, with both continents seeking the transformation of their economies to tackle both climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic impacts while improving wellbeing of the population. There are many points of overlap between the two continents’ official agendas. But there are also many open questions and potential tensions especially around: access to energy for sustainable and inclusive industrial development; maintaining competitive value chain; addressing trade barriers; promoting knowledge transfer while protecting intellectual property rights; using gas, and promoting hydrogen. If well-managed, innovation for the energy transition can act as catalyst for a shared prosperity for the two continents. This blogpost was written by the members of the Ukama Platform’s steering committee ahead of the European Union-Africa Union Summit.

Laying the foundation for a solid AU–EU partnership 

European Think Tanks Group (ETTG), the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) joined forces to analyse divergences and seek consensus between the AU and the EU on key issues in the partnership. Drawing on roundtable discussions with experts from Africa and Europe, the group produced a series of policy briefs with proposals to strengthen the partnership between Africa and the EU on green transformation and climate change; economic development and trade; and participatory governance, peace and security. The briefs draw on contributions from more than 70 leading African and European independent experts, knowledge centres and think tanks that contributed reflections and suggested concrete policy recommendations. 

The sixth EU-AU Summit: Partners in therapy?

The sixth EU-AU Summit: Partners in therapy?

Summits are an inevitable part of the international relations game. But each and every time they end up in disappointments because expectations were too high or longstanding frustrations and irritants on both sides were not openly addressed. To break with this pattern, the partnership should move from an asymmetrical top-down relationship to a more horizontal partnership where both parties negotiate deals on the basis of trust and mutual respect.

Why rebuilding trust in governments is key to end COVID-19

Vaccine hesitancy as a global challenge – Why rebuilding trust in governments is key to end COVID-19

Rejection of the jab from parts of the population remains a challenge for achieving increased immunisation coverage and, consequently, the end of the pandemic. Because vaccine hesitancy is largely driven by lack of trust in governments, rebuilding trust in governments is essential for a successful global vaccination campaign. Trust is an essential attribute of social cohesion and socially cohesive societies are more resilient during crisis. The current one is certainly not the last we will face.

The proof of the haggis: Making sense of the Glasgow climate change conference

In spite of all the anger and frustration that was palpable especially during the final iterations of the Glasgow cover decision, it would be too bleak to consider COP26 as a mere waste of time and effort. Much rather, the Glasgow package delivered a hefty lump for all Parties to chew on. As of now, it remains hard to tell how palatable individual Parties will find their haggis once they take it to their domestic tables. But if they now act even upon the half-hearted words of the Glasgow Climate Pact, the implementation of the Paris Agreement could finally gain traction. Ultimately, the proof of the haggis will be in the eating.

Synthesis note: Strengthening the continent-to-continent dialogue on sustainable development

This synthesis note presents one-page overviews of the main findings and recommendations in relation to the five themes, which are discussed in greater detail in the policy briefs that have been published during the past months. A link to the full policy brief is included at the end of each one-pager. These thematic overviews are preceded by a short analysis of the relationship between Africa and Europe and five proposals for strengthening the continent-to-continent dialogue on sustainable development.