Europe-Africa relations are still captured by recipient-donor attitudes nurtured by post-colonial conventions. The set-up of Africa-EU summits since last decade could not yet affirm a real political dialogue. Why is that so and how can the research community contribute to a change of paradigm?
Yaoundé, Lomé, Cotonou agreements and bilateral relations created a post-colonial donor-recipient framework. Political conditionality - respect for human rights and democracy - and the contentious economic partnership agreements were added to this framework since the nineties. The innovations to the agreements and the set-up last decade of regular bilateral Summits could not yet change the post-colonial paradigm: for the EU, Africa is the last region in the world where aid is still in the centre of preoccupations; conversely, for Africa, Europe is still regarded as major aid provider. The surge for raw materials and land and the spread of new donors, investors and financiers since the last decade is however changing the way Africa and most African countries look to foreign relations, and business is challenging aid as major driver of economic development. The destrategisation of Africa that followed the end of cold-war is now over: the Arab spring' revolutions, the struggle between moderate and radical Islam, the terrorist groups strengthened with war material from Libya put a number of African countries in the radar of international security. EARN, an independent network of 25 organisations from Africa and Europe, including think tanks, academic institutes and development NGO, is discussing these new events, aiming to contribute to a more political and strategic partnership between Europe and Africa, through the discussion of global issues of common concern, be them poverty, political and security , economic, social or environmental issues. Members of EARN will be invited to present papers on the panel.