The Task Force Rural Africa, set up under the new Alliance, published its landmark report towards more cooperation in the agri-food sector between the EU and Africa. The African and European experts identified four strategic areas of action: job creation, climate action, sustainable transformation of African agriculture and development of the African food industry and markets.
Launched in May 2018, the Task Force Rural Africa was set up to provide advice on strengthening the Africa-Europe partnership in food and farming. According to the group, Africa and the EU should develop a partnership operating at three levels: people-to-people, business-to-business, and government-to-government.
Following the recommendations, the European Union will implement concrete actions, starting with the following projects:
- Twinning and exchange programmes between African and European agricultural bodies
- AU-EU Agribusiness platform to link European and African businesses to help identify challenges and opportunities for private investment and trade.
- Innovation hubs to support ‘agripreneurs' and the African agri-food sector to facilitate digitalisation and skills development.
International development and cooperation Commissioner Neven Mimica said: "This is a very important day for the Africa-Europe Alliance (…) Now it is up to us to come together, take these valuable recommendations forward and devise solutions that can deliver what we all want: a positive rural transformation, and an inclusive and sustainable agriculture and agri-food sector."
African Union (AU) Commissioner for rural economy and agriculture Josefa Sacko said: "The Task Force report recognises the new reality of Africa and Europe as global partners on an equal footing. It demonstrates that farmers and the food industry should work hand in hand to take on the new opportunities that the African Continental Free Trade Area will offer and also, build the regional markets needed for Africa's long term food security."
To make this an open and inclusive process, the Commission will launch an online consultation to gather direct feedback from African stakeholders on the Task Force's approach and the state of the agri-food trade and cooperation between the two continents. Report and consultation will feed into the third AU-EU agricultural ministerial conference in Rome, planned for June 2019.