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Lecture | Seminar

The EU and Africa – joint visions for the future or falling back on the past?

  • Luisa Ossmann (International Cooperation Officer in DG International Partnerships, European Commission)
Friday 21 October 2022
European Union Seminar Series
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

Africa is the EU’s closest neighbour and shares with it a long, if conflicted, history. The EU is also Africa’s most important partner with regard to investment, trade, and development assistance. But the nature of this partnership is changing. Africa is growing, demographically and economically, a continent full of natural resources, entrepreneurial spirit, an ever-growing young population and booming cultural sectors. The African Union is becoming an increasingly important representative of the continent with its flagship project, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), creating new opportunities for jobs and growth. The EU is keen to apply a post-colonial cooperation narrative, moving away from a “donor-recipient” dynamic and supporting “African solutions for African problem”. In 2021, it unveiled its Global Gateway Investment strategy, often viewed as an attempt to rival China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as a sustainable alternative promoting social and environmental standards. February 2022 the European Union and the African Union proposed a joint vision for 2030. This joint vision is now being tested by the rapidly changing global context. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the urgency of climate change and the global energy crisis sparked by Russia’s attack on Ukraine have all highlighted the interdependence and the shared challenges the two continents face, but they also made clear the diverging views of the two partners on many of these shared issues. Why does the EU want a stronger partnership with Africa today and what can it bring to the two continents?

In this EU Seminar, Luisa Ossmann from DG International Partnerships of the European Commission, talks about the evolving relations between the EU and Africa, the most recent agreement between the EU and the AU on the Joint Vision for 2030 and the instruments the EU has put in place to support its priorities in this partnership.

About the speaker

Luisa Ossmann is International Cooperation Officer in DG INTPA Unit A1 Strategic Partnerships with Africa, in charge of Communication, Youth, Civil Society, Gender, and Culture. Her responsibilities include, among other, contributing to the EU’s Africa policy in the areas of youth and civil society, developing strategic communications at the DG and organising stakeholder events and AU-EU policy dialogues. Luisa is also an alumni of MA International Relations/European Union Studies programme at Leiden University.

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