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Agriculture and rural development

Africa-Europe rural transformation action agenda

The Africa-Europe rural transformation action agenda sets out concrete initiatives to strengthen rural areas and the food supply chain in Africa.


The action agenda sets out concrete initiatives across nine action areas, all of which target the sustainable strengthening of Africa’s agri-food sector and rural territories.

AU-EU agri-food platform

Concrete activities

  • Establish an AU-EU agribusiness platform for dialogue between the EU and African private sectors, through cooperation with EU delegations, national chambers of commerce, European business organisations and national private sector organisations.
  • Collaborate with the ongoing OECD-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains.

Research and innovation partnership

Concrete activities

  • Launch research and innovation (R&I) actions focused on climate and environment under the EU’s Development-Smart Innovation through Research in Agriculture (De SIRA) initiative.
  • Support applied research on food environments and sustainable food systems by expanding the number of countries and private enterprises involved in the R&I partnership on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture (FNSSA).
  • Encourage professional development and mobility opportunities through the One Planet Summit fellowship programme, the EU’s Marie-Sklodowska-Curie actions, ERASMUS+ and Horizon 2020 projects.
  • Strengthened support for the Pan-African network for economic analysis of policies (PANAP).

Ongoing action: Horizon Europe boosts EU-Africa cooperation in research and innovation

As a strategic partner, the EU seeks to enhance cooperation with Africa to find locally adapted solutions to challenges that are global in nature, but which often hit Africa hardest. The Horizon Europe work programme 2021-22 included around 40 topics with a budget of around €350 million under Calls for Proposals that were particularly relevant for cooperation with Africa.

Ongoing action: The AU-EU High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) on Science, Technology and Innovation formulates long-term research and innovation policy priorities to strengthen Africa-Europe cooperation. The EU-Africa cooperation in research and innovation web page brings together all research and innovation partnerships and opportunities for Africa.

Digital solutions for agribusinesses

Concrete activity

Support the creation of an international digital council for food and agriculture, as proposed at the global forum for food and agriculture (GFFA) in Berlin, 2019. The council would provide guidance to countries on digitisation issues and promote the exchange of ideas and experience.

Implementation of the continental strategy for geographical indications in Africa

Concrete activities

Enhance cooperation on the AU’s continental strategy for geographical indications (GIs) through backing the African GI training programme and web platform, and supporting GI pilot projects.

    GIs are one of the focus areas of this programme, which supports priority actions like:

    • GI pilot projects 
    • training
    • an improved legal framework on GIs
    • communication activities
    • studies.

    Examples of such actions include technical assistance to the GI registration Cabrito de Tete in Mozambique and Poivre de Penja in Cameroun, and co-organisation of capacity building workshop on GIs in Nigeria on 22 April 2021. In addition, there has recently been good progress in the drafting of an African GIs handbook and the identification of potential GIs from Africa to be further supported under the project.

    Strengthening food safety governance

    Concrete actions

    • Implement the protocol on trade and goods: sanitary and phytosanitary measures, outlined in annex 7 of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
    • Establish appropriate food safety governance structures in African countries.

    Strengthening African farmers’ organisations

    As part of the partnership, a multiannual EU cooperation programme with African farmers’ organisations has been launched. The programme will focus on improving the governance of organisations, supporting farmers’ integration into value chains and strengthening their influence on policies. Smallholder farmers will be given particular attention in the programme. In March 2021, the action Farmers' Organizations for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific was launched in this context with the aim of helping small farmers to overcome constraints and fully benefit from profitable economic activities.

    African-European farmers’ exchange programme

    Concrete activities

    An exchange programme involving African and European farmers to enhance skills and expand knowledge through interactions, seminars, and training. Among other aims, the programme will aim to help small-scale farmers and low-skilled rural youth integrate into sustainable agriculture value chains and meet the standards required for national and international markets.

    Ongoing action: Mobility scheme between African and European VET systems

    The AU and EU are cooperating on the OVERSTEP project, a joint alliance to develop a mobility scheme and share best practices for vocational education and training (VET) systems in Africa. The project focuses on the areas of food processing, agriculture, forestry, fisheries and veterinary science, as well as tourism and hotel services. Through the OVERSTEP project, the AU and EU aim to improve the professional development, skills, and employability of teachers and managers.

    OVERSTEP project – factsheet

      Local action for rural development in Africa

      Concrete activities

      Support local action programmes based on the principles of the EU’s LEADER strategy. Local communities will be involved in the design and implementation of strategies to meet their local needs, with key focus areas including sustainable land management, land restoration, and climate-smart agriculture and forestry.

      Ongoing action: increase the knowledge of local stakeholders on LEADER

      On 25 May 2021, the Commission organised the local action for rural development in Africa webinar in order to present a participative territorial approach for local development in rural Africa to colleagues in the EU's African delegations. Inspired by the European LEADER, it has been supported by the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy for 30 years. This working method is bottom-up, multi-level, multi-sectoral (beyond agriculture) and works thanks to the learning and networking of stakeholders. It has the potential to strengthen local governance, foster multi-level policy dialogue, enhance empowerment of civil society and and alleviate poverty.

      Improving environmental sustainability, climate resilience, and agrobiodiversity in the agricultural sector

      Concrete activities

      • Implement bilateral pilot projects that demonstrate and promote climate-adapted cultivation methods and drought-tolerant crop varieties.
      • Support measures for conservation of biodiversity and sound management of agricultural chemicals and waste.


      21 JUNE 2019
      Political declaration and action agenda
      (5.7 MB - PDF)
      11 MAY 2021
      OVERSTEP project – factsheet
      (457.42 KB - PDF)
      15 JUNE 2023
      Erasmus+ projects in Africulture - Agriculture
      (501.26 KB - PDF)