Strengthening Africa-EU green collaborations

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted existing vulnerabilities and interconnected risks of societies all over the world. For the pandemic recovery, African countries need a people-centred transformation agenda to set the course for sustainable and resilient economic development. Partnerships with the EU can play an important role, especially in light of the European Green Deal, simultaneously supporting the EU’s decarbonisation agenda.

The United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) lead a consortium to outline a green transition agenda for Africa and collaboration opportunities with Europe in a discussion paper in the run-up to the AU-EU Summit in 2021. A briefing note consolidates key messages for a green and just transformation in Africa’s key sectors – energy, land and cities. The project explored what cooperation avenues the European Green Deal might be opening to facilitate this, while also highlighting concerns of the EU’s African partners, for example with regard to the envisioned Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). A strong outreach strategy supported the project’s aims, including op-eds by renowned sustainability champions from the African and European continents in strategic media outlets and webinars. The project drew on expertise from key regional institutions, including the African Union (AU), African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), African Development Bank (AfDB) and UNECA. It also engages with the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), and the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ). The launch was co-hosted by the Brookings Insitution.

adelphi supported the drafting of the documents and the strategic outreach with a focus on European green and climate diplomacy tools, including the external dimension of the European Green Deal. Some of these effects stem from measures primarily aimed at decarbonising the EU, such as possible implications of CBAM for partner countries or changing commodity flows due to greening European energy and agriculture. At the same time, the Green Deal can prompt a deliberate alignment in the EU’s external relations, e.g. by increasing collaboration on long-term transformation strategies or extending concepts like just transition to international cooperation. adelphi helped the consortium explore what this means for Africa-EU relations by proving research, analysis and visualisations.