Thursday, April 3, 2014


A group of protesters from Tchad.
It has become a kind of a habit. Demonstrations on the Place the Luxembourg in Brussels, in front of the European Parliament. This time – Wednesday 2 April – there were different African groups, some protesting against their government, others supporting their government. It is not a big demonstration, rather small but very present. Some of them are singing, others making music on a drum and some are yelling. It is a sunny day so it feels that Africa is present today in Brussels.

Protest against the President of Djibouti.

It is all happening because of the start of the 4th EU Africa Summit of 2 days in Brussels. On the website “Africa-EU partnership”  it is said that “It will bring together African and EU leaders, as well as the leaders of EU and African Union institutions. Discussions at the summit will focus on the theme "Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace". Topics will include education and training, women and youth, legal and illegal migrant flows between both continents, ways to stimulate growth and create jobs, investing in peace and ways to enhance EU support for African capacities to manage security on the continent. Previous summits took place in Cairo (2000), Lisbon (2007) and Tripoli (2010). The 2014 summit will be an opportunity to take a fresh look at the EU-Africa partnership, to highlight some of the results that have been achieved, and to explore areas for future cooperation.”

The Djibouti diaspora protests also against the Persident of Djibouti.

On the website of the European Council it is said that The Africa-EU Partnership aims to bridge the development divide between Africa and Europe through closer economic cooperation and the promotion of inclusive and sustainable development on both continents. It defines the long-term policy orientations between the EU and Africa, based on shared values and common principles. It is also the overall political framework defining EU-Africa relations.”

Supporters of  President Kagame of Rwanda. A well organized protest with small flags and a lot of smiling.

Funding of the Africa-EU Partnership is provided through the EU budget, by EU member states and, where possible, through African countries and African institutions such as the African Development Bank. The official data say that the EU was the largest provider of development aid in the world in 2012, contributing more than half of all Official Development Assistance (ODA) worldwide.

More support for President Kagame.
  • In 2011, 43% or €25.3 billion of the EU's combined (EU & its member states) ODA was targeted to Africa.
  • Africa is the main continent targeted by EU development assistance under the European Development Fund (EDF) and the EU budget: From 2007-2012, African countries received close to €24 billion in assistance from EU aid instruments.
  • In the past decade, the European Commission has provided close to €1 billion in support to the African Union and its institutions.

    Some protestors are well equipped
    The 2014 EU-Africa Summit is an opportunity to take stock of ongoing and future cooperation in the various fields covered by the JAES (Joint Africa -EU Strategy). In addition to a political declaration, the summit is expected to adopt an implementing document to shape EU-Africa cooperation for the next 3 years in the framework of the JAES .
    Female protestors from Djibouti
    In terms of budget, the European Commission has proposed establishing a dedicated Pan-African Programme (PAP) under the EU's 2014-2020 financial framework. The Programme will be part of the EU's Development Cooperation Instrument and will support the implementation of the JAES. It has a proposed budget of €1 billion. The final proposal is currently awaiting adoption.
The Tchad protester is interviewed 
This all looks very impressive but is it enough? The protesters on Place de Luxembourg remind us that one of the problems in Africa are the governments which do not obey to democratic rules and do not respect the human rights. The question is what the EU is doing to help Afica to change these governments? Does have the EU-Africa partnership a proper strategy to promote stable and democratic Governments who respect human rights?

A protester from Tchad with the national flag.
At this moment Africa looks more a continent of regional and local wars than of peace. These wars make a lot of victims, above all civilians and between them mostly women and children. How the EU is helping Africa to develop its economy and its democracy? That is the question the protesters are putting on the table of the EU and Africa.

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