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Agriculture and rural development

African Union - EU cooperation


As the source of livelihood for 70% of the African population, agriculture and the rural economy play a fundamental role in securing a peaceful, prosperous and integrated future for Africa.

Together with the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU) is committed to the sustainable development of Africa’s agricultural sector and rural areas. Through strong and strategic cooperation, the AU-EU partnership on food and farming promotes knowledge transfer, sharing good practices, and actions that contribute to job creation and inclusive growth in Africa’s rural economy.

I would like Europe to have a comprehensive strategy on Africa, our close neighbour and our most natural partner.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
Ursula von der Leyen

Agriculture in the Africa-EU Partnership

Through the Africa-EU partnership, the AU and EU work together to strengthen economic cooperation and promote sustainable development, as guided by the Joint Africa-EU Strategy.

In advance of the sixth EU-AU Summit, to be held in 2021, the European Commission and the European External Action Service issued a joint Communication Towards a Comprehensive Strategy with Africa, which sets out a renewed focus for the Africa-EU partnership.

Agriculture has a key role to play in the future of the partnership. By working together to boost safe and sustainable agri-food systems, the AU and EU can address the challenges of nutrition and food security, environmental concerns, and economic growth.

AU-EU agriculture ministerial conferences

Political dialogue among ministers is at the forefront of the Africa-EU partnership on agriculture.

  1. July 2016

    The first AU-EU agriculture ministerial conference, which took place in Noordwijk in July 2016, highlighted agriculture and agri-food business as key areas in sustainable development and job creation for Africa.

  2. July 2017

    The second AU-EU agriculture ministerial conference, held in July 2017 in Rome, produced tangible and realistic deliverables that fed into the fifth AU-EU summit of November 2017 in Abidjan. Deliverables covered innovative funding, research and educational partnerships, the development of geographical indications, sustainable management practises, as well as action on climate change, food loss and food waste.

  3. June 2019

    At the third ministerial conference, held in Rome on 21 June 2019, both Unions committed to further strengthening the partnership in food and farming through a joint political declaration and action agenda.

  4. June 2021

    The fourth ministerial conference on 22 June 2021 focuses on investment and competitiveness, research and innovation, digital solutions and regional trade integration.

Task force rural Africa

Set up by the European Commission in 2018, Task force rural Africa (TFRA) aims to strengthen the EU-AU partnership in food and farming by advising on how best to contribute to sustainable development and job creation in Africa’s agri-food sector and rural economy.

The TFRA comprises of eleven members with a first-hand knowledge of the agri-food sector in Africa. The experience and expertise of the task force ranges from agriculture, agri-business, and agroindustry to trade, development policy, and migration.

TFRA published its executive report in March 2019, setting out strategies and recommendations for the transformation of Africa’s rural areas.

Africa-Europe rural transformation action agenda

Based on the recommendations of the TFRA’s executive report, the AU and EU endorsed a political declaration and launched the Rural Transformation Action Agenda at the third AU-EU agriculture ministerial conference in June 2019.

The action agenda consists of nine deliverable action areas for the transformation of rural Africa. Actions focus on developing sustainable practices, strengthening regional and national farmer organisations, supporting food safety, and enhancing research and innovation.