African Union - Ethiopia

African Union

Finding solutions together

The Netherlands supports the development an African multilateral system that can be self-sufficient in addressing the challenges of the continent, and that can act as an ally and partner to the EU.

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The African Union headquarters in Addis Abeba.
Through specific support for Economic Integration, Climate Adaptation and Peace and Security the Netherlands aims to aid the AU and IGAD in meeting the challenges of the future, and grow as a result. 

While developing rapidly, Africa remains one of the most unstable regions in the world. Destabilizing developments in Africa have a direct impact on the wider security and trade interests of the Netherlands, and the AU is increasingly considered the most effective mechanism to prevent, mitigate and manage conflict on the continent.

Partner and financier

The Netherlands, in close coordination with partners, intends to strengthen the capacity and capabilities of the African Union, including AU PSC and relevant regional organizations (REC’s) for their conflict management, early warning and emergency responses, through continued financial support for the AUC’s Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department, IGAD, and African Think Thanks supporting informed policy development in the field of security.  The Netherlands means to leverage the access to the AUC, gained by the role of partner and financier, to advance the institutional development by lending expertise and promoting good governance.

The AU has initiated the development of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and negotiations between AfCFTA member states will be ongoing in the coming 5 years on tariff lists, Rules of Origin, intellectual property rights and product standards, before the free trade area will be complete.

Successful economic integration of Africa

The Netherlands sees the successful economic integration of Africa as a means to advance development, reduce poverty and address one of the root causes of conflict. Simultaneously, the AfCFTA provides many new business opportunities for the Dutch private sector and could influence the global balance of economic power. It is of strategic importance to the EU/ Netherlands that African trade regulations and product standards are as much in line with those from the EU internal market as possible.

The EU being the largest trading partner of the African continent, this is likely to be of equal interest to Africa. The Netherlands therefore intends to offer financial and technical assistance to the further development and implementation of the AfCFTA, in support of African Economic Integration as well as the EU as Africa’s preferred partner.

Climate change

Africa disproportionally suffers from the effects of climate change, while having contributed relatively little to its causes and relying heavily on fossil fuels for its own development. Global warming is expected to significantly impact African food security, amongst others, and will be a key driver of conflict and migration.

The African Union is uniquely placed to develop and coordinate a comprehensive and inclusive continental strategy for climate adaptation and mitigation. The Netherlands, in close coordination with partners, intends to support the development of a continental framework, both financially and thought active cooperation. This framework can facilitate the flow of information and financial aid needed to address the emerging climate crises and facilitate a green transition for the continent.

The preferred way to support stability and prosperity in Africa is through the EU-AU Partnership, notably via EU support to the AGA/APSA implementation, the Global Gateway Initiative and other EU programs addressing economic and climate-related root causes for conflict. The Netherlands is an active and engaged EU member state, with a keen eye for specific Dutch priority themes (human rights, SRGR, position of women, digitalization, youth participation, climate adaptation) within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Netherlands actively pursues EU-AU Summit Follow-Up and identify opportunities for high level visits to the AU, as part of the enhanced, equal partnership. The Netherlands increase its political contacts with African leaders and use its network to promote Dutch Candidatures in International Organizations.