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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.

At the sixth EU-AU Summit in February 2022, the document A joint vision for 2030 was agreed, 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 focused on investment and competitiveness, research and innovation, digital solutions and regional trade integration.

  5. June 2023

    The fifth AU-EU agriculture ministerial conference will take place on 30 June 2023 in Rome (FAO premises). It will consist of 4 high-level thematic sessions: i) sustainable investment in support of agri-food, ii) research and innovation for smarter policies and technologies, iii) climate resilience of agri-food systems, and iv) regional trade integration. It will also include side events and a ministerial plenary session.

Task force rural Africa

Set up by the European Commission in 2018, Task force rural Africa (TFRA) aimed at strengthening 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 included eleven independent experts in agriculture, agri-business, 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.

The recommendations paved the basis for the Rural Transformation Agenda agreed upon by EU and AU agriculture Commissioners and Ministers during the fourth AU-EU agriculture ministerial conference.

Africa-Europe rural transformation action agenda

Based on the recommendations of the TFRA’s 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.