The Joint Africa- EU Strategy is an important instrument to strengthen the partnership between the two continents. However, the Strategy can only be successful if more actors are involved in the process including civil society which needs political and financial support. This has now been demanded by civil society organisations at an international conference at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in the run-up to the Africa-EU Summit in Tripoli.

"The Strategy heralds a paradigm shift in the relations between the two countries. A paternalistic strategy for Africa has at last turned into a strategy with Africa. Unfortunately, it is only little known to the public and among decision-makers. The participants at the Summit in Tripoli need to boost the Strategy and force its implementation," said Deputy VENRO Board Chair Christa Randzio-Plath. "Furthermore it is necessary that new aspects are added to the second Action Plan."

The Action plan must focus on rural development and development-friendly trading. Sustainable and decentralised energy supply would have to be promoted. In addition, gender equality and the role of women have to be enforced. Germany would also have to contribute to the success of the Summit.

"Both Africa and Europe urgently need future energy systems to overcome the dependence on fossil energy. This is why the Partnership has to emphasise the development of decentralised renewable energies much more strongly," said J?rgen Maier of the German NGO Forum Environment and Development.

On the 29th and 30th November, the heads of states and governments of the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) are to put the implementation of the Joint Africa -EU-Strategy to the test and adopt a second Action Plan for the coming three years in Tripoli. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel is to attend the Summit for Germany.

In 2007, the Joint Africa-EU Strategy was adopted. The Strategy's goal is a partnership at eye level comprising all fields of co-operation between the European and African countries. Implementation ought to involve not only politicians but also representatives of civil society.

Source: Association of German development NGOs

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