Political & economic relations

The Cotonou Agreement is the main legal basis for EU cooperation with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States. More recently, this text has been complemented by the Development Cooperation Instrument and the Joint Africa-EU Strategy.

The ACP-EC Partnership Agreement, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000 and revised in Luxembourg on 25 June 2005, is a twenty-year partnership between the EU and the ACP Group of States. It is based on three pillars: (1) political dialogue, (2) trade, and (3) financial development cooperation. The EU's policy objectives for development cooperation are confirmed in Article 1 of the Agreement, namely to reduce and eventually eradicate poverty consistent with the objectives of sustainable development and the gradual integration of the ACP countries into the world economy.

The EU's financial resources for implementing the Cotonou Agreement are found in the European Development Fund (EDF), an instrument which is financed by the EU Member States on the basis of specific contribution keys. Under the 10th EDF, which covers the period 2008–2013, the EU allocates €22,682 million to the ACP States. This is the main source of funding for EU cooperation with Malawi.

In addition to EDF funds, the EU uses its own budget for certain types of development assistance. One example is the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), which covers both geographic cooperation (with South and Central America, Asia, Central Asia and South Africa), and thematic programmes for which all developing countries can apply. Yet another instrument is the EU's 'Food Facility', which was created in 2008 in response to the global food crisis. Malawi benefits significantly from these instruments.

Following the EU's agreement on an EU Strategy for Africa in 2005, eighty African heads of state and government adopted the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) in Lisbon, Portugal, in December 2007. The JAES is a long-term strategic partnership whose objectives include reinforcing the Africa-EU political partnership, promoting a system of effective multilateralism, and ensuring that all Millennium Development Goals are met in all African countries by 2015.