The EU and the AU are building a partnership that ignores the real demands of African people.
The EU-AU Summit will take place during the week of 14th February. African and EU officials will close the negotiations of the EU-AU Partnership and present the outcomes: an investment package and a joint declaration.
For almost two years, CIDSE, together with its European and African partners, has advocated for better engagement of civil society into the negotiations of the EU-AU Partnership. Despite some small attempts, the European Union has failed to include the organisations close to the people’s voices. By not involving civil society in the process, the EU and the AU are building a partnership that ignores the needs expressed by the African people.
“We need to reflect upon the colonial and imperial mentality that still dictates a significant part of the current EU-AU dialogues. It is essential to take a closer look at the extent that the EU-Africa partnership has contributed to responding to the aspirations and needs of the African people. Instead of treating Africa’s basic needs, such as food and poverty, the Summit appears to be unrealistically referring to topics that do not belong to the priorities of the African continent.” Fr. Chika Onyejiuwa, AEFJN.
Indeed, the Summit programme fails to include systemic issues such as agriculture, food sovereignty, corporate abuse, land- and resource-grabbing, but also imbalanced trade relationships, debt, climate, biodiversity loss, social, cultural and economic rights, vaccine and health inequity.
While smallholder farmers, pastoralists, artisanal fisherfolk and forest communities dominate the demographics of rural Africa and are successfully putting in practice agroecology, political decisions are taken by external actors that put their interests first and do not support real solutions – such as agroecology – to thrive.
“Aware of the patterns of colonialism in society, at CIDSE we have been working with the African-driven movement ‘Our Land is Our Life’ and we are supporting their objective to put forward the priorities of African people with regards to land rights and food.” said Elise Kervyn, CIDSE Senior Advisor. This movement rejects the EU-Africa partnership model by holding an African People’s Summit on 14 February. The event will focus on vital priorities for the African continent: agriculture and agroecology, land and corporate abuse. In particular, the platform calls on the EU and AU governments to put agroecology on the policy table and recognise its track record of success in producing healthy food with low input costs, with huge potential to create jobs, provide balanced diets, and make farming communities more resilient. Overall, CIDSE together with its partners believes that international relations must be set to ensure human rights are at the cornerstone of any future relationship between peoples and countries: the right to food, the right to a sustainable environment, land and peasants’ rights.
“For Africans, land determines our identity as human beings, our dignity, our sense of belonging, In Africa, food is a basic human right, not a commodity in the hands of a select few who determine prices through their food industries.” African Civil Society Declaration on the African-European Union Partnership, 2020
Notes to the editors:
CIDSE is organizing a virtual media space at the closing of the African People Summit (Monday 14 February 17.00-18.00 CET), during which journalists can arrange personal interviews with the speakers. More information is available here.
A press kit including background information and resources is also available here.
Media contact: Valentina Pavarotti, Communications Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
Picture by: Christophe Smets, La Boîte à Images