South Africa

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EU relations with South Africa

Formal links

  •  Annual summits – last one in 2013 on job creation, growth, investment and skills. 
  • Joint Cooperation Council – meets yearly* to oversee:
    • implementation of the Trade, Development & Cooperation Agreement
    • policy dialogue/cooperation

* 2013 meeting postponed (until 2014) at the request of South Africa.

Development aid

In the past, EU aid – paid through its Development Cooperation Instrument – has provided roughly 70% of all development funding given to South Africa.

This has averaged €125m a year since 1995 – amounting to 1.3% of its budget or 0.3% of GDP. Recent programmes have focused on health, primary education and job creation.

Following the EU's 2011 'Agenda for Change' refocussing funding on the world's poorest countries, aid to South Africa will be reduced in 2014–20 to €241m (compared with €980m in 2007-13). Discussions on the key sectors of cooperation are ongoing.


South Africa is the EU's largest trading partner in Africa and by far the strongest sub-Saharan African economy.