On 11 March 2019, the Republic of Angola and the European Union met in in Luanda for the fourth Ministerial meeting organised under the EU-Angola Joint Way Forward (JWF) agreement, a framework for dialogue and cooperation based on common interests and shared values. The Ministerial talks covered a broad spectrum of issues: economic cooperation, sustainable development, governance and human rights, multilateral and global challenges such as peace, security and climate change.
The meeting was co-chaired by the Minister of External Relations of the Republic of Angola, Manuel Domingos Augusto and the Minister of Economy and Planning of the Republic of Angola Pedro Luís da Fonseca on the Angolan side and on the EU side by the Vice Prime Minister of Romania, Ana Birchall, representing the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
Several side events are taking place in the margins of the Joint Way Forward ministerial meeting:
- Three financing agreements were signed by the Angolan Minister of Economy and Planning Pedro Luís da Fonseca and the EU acting Director for Central and Southern Africa, Francesca di Mauro, concerning the following programmes approved in 2018 to be financed with the 11th European Development Fund: the Dialogue Facility (€4 million) aimed at implementing cooperation activities decided under the framework for the Joint Way Forward Partnership; the programme in support to the higher education sector (€13 million) and the support to public finance management and economic governance (€5 million).
- A financing agreement was signed between the National Director for Integration of the Ministry of Finance, Manuel Francisco Pedro, and the Head of Regional Representation for Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean of the European Investment Bank Director, Tom Anderson, for a €100 million loan to support the water and sanitation sector.
- On 12 March, a workshop will take place in order to present the main features of the EU External Investment Plan (EIP) and the opportunities it represents for Angolan stakeholders. The meeting will gather International Financial Institutions, Angolan commercial banks, private sector operators, business associations, representatives of the European Union Member States and officials of the Angolan Government. A specific session to inform different Ministries will take place on the 13 March.
- On 12 March, an information day about the Intra-Africa academic mobility programme and the Erasmus + programme will take place at the Faculty of Law of the University Agostinho Neto, organised by the European Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency. It will address academic staff and students from Angola and the region.
- Later this month, a workshop will take place to continue the preparatory work for the drafting of a national integrated maritime strategy for Angola. This event and the kick-off workshop (November 2018) are funded by the EU GOGIN (Gulf of Guinea Interregional Network) project. They bring together all the relevant stakeholders, with participation from EU experts.
ECONOMIC COOPERATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The participants concurred on the need to join forces towards the promotion of an inclusive and sustainable development which allows for a reduction of social inequalities and disparities between regions, human development and decent jobs opportunities, especially for the youth, taking into account that Angola will be graduating from the category of Least Developed Country in the coming years. In line with the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs, the participants affirmed their commitment to cooperate in diversifying the Angolan economy and making it more inclusive and resilient, including by supporting the Angolan Government's efforts to boost production, promote exports and by addressing inequalities and helping build social protection mechanisms through support from the ongoing APROSOC project. Agriculture value chains and the blue economy were among the sectors which were discussed, where cooperation will be taking place in the future, including through private sector development programs and capacity building on fisheries control. Regarding fisheries, the participants concurred in initiating exploratory discussions about the sustainable fisheries partnership agreement.
The role of culture as a driver for development was underlined.
Boosting investment will be essential to achieve these results. The participants agreed on the need to cooperate on the implementation of the ongoing reform agenda aimed at making the business environment more conducive to domestic and foreign investment. Cooperation will aim at improving skills for youth employability (higher education and vocational training) but also at to promoting private sector development and innovative financial instruments under the EU External Investment Plan.
The participants also shared the opinion that an efficient legal framework for trade is essential for attracting additional investments and for supporting the diversification of the Angolan economy. They exchanged views on ways to promote bilateral, regional and intercontinental trade and investment flows. In this regard, the participants agreed to start exploratory discussions on Angola’s plan to accede to the EU-Southern African Development Community (SADC) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which would be a first and essential step towards closer trade and economic relations between Angola and the EU. The future accession to the EPA should in particular ensure that Angola will be able to benefit from duty-free, quota-free access to the EU market and contribute to regional integration, including in trade. Cooperation will continue to take place in the framework of the Angola-EU Trade Promotion Programme.
Convinced that an enabling business environment and enhanced economic governance are key factors for economic development and diversification, the Government of Angola and the EU also underlined the importance of joining forces to improve domestic revenue mobilisation, in close partnership with the International Monetary Fund. The participants also converged on the importance of a robust and reliable financial sector to promote investment and sustainable economic growth. They reiterated their commitment to combating corruption and other illicit financial flows and promoting transparency and multilateral cooperation on these matters.
GOVERNANCE AND HUMAN RIGHTS
The participants had an open exchange of views and agreed to continue protecting and promoting good governance and human rights in domestic and International fora, including by defending the rules-based international order and the UN Human Rights system. The EU reaffirmed the importance of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Angola and the EU welcomed the increasing quality of their dialogue on human rights and reiterated their commitment towards the United Nations’ Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review mechanism, which will be reviewing the situation in Angola in 2019. Angola gave an overview of its recently approved human rights strategy and the participants welcomed the progress already achieved, including on freedom of expression and enhanced dialogue with civil society in Angola, and committed to cooperate further to protect and promote human rights. The EU-Angola Joint Technical Working Group on Human Rights, created during the latest political dialogue on human rights and just operationalised, will be the privileged forum to discuss the content of future cooperation activities.
Angola presented its decentralisation reform plans and the ongoing preparation of the first municipal elections planned for 2020. The EU encouraged the implementation of this reform in an inclusive manner. It will be providing support to non-state actors to promote participatory local governance. The participants concurred on the importance of transparent, inclusive and credible elections and agreed to work jointly on the implementation of the EU electoral experts' recommendations regarding the 2017 general elections. The EU informed it would contribute to a capacity building project in support to the National Electoral Commission and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme
Angola provided an overview of the recently approved new penal code and how it will contribute to better protecting human rights, ensuring more legal certainty and a more conducive legal environment for business, by allowing a more efficient fight against corruption and financial crimes. The participants reaffirmed the importance of judicial reforms in the country as a key dimension to uphold the rule of law, as well as further cooperation in the fight against corruption.
The EU, as 2018 Chair of the Kimberley Process, and Angola, as current Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Review and Reform, exchanged views on how to take the review and reform agenda forward to enhance the effectiveness of the Kimberley Process, ensuring it remains fit for purpose. Both committed to cooperate in order to build consensus and bring the current Kimberley Process reform and review cycle to a successful conclusion in 2019, in line with the commitments made at the 2018 plenary meeting in Brussels. Angola and the EU agreed on the importance of reinforcing global and regional natural resources governance in order to promote sustainable development by creating the conditions for sustainable mining, improved livelihoods and prosperity and by combating illegal exploitation and promoting good governance, especially in the minerals and wildlife sectors.
GLOBAL CHALLENGES, PEACE AND SECURITY
Convinced of the importance of peace and security to ensure harmonious socio-economic and human development as well as the full enjoyment of human rights for all persons, the participants reaffirmed their intention to work together to support multilateralism, democracy, the rule of law and the rules-based global order, in particular at the United Nations and other global fora. They reiterated their commitment to support peace and security, in line with the United Nations Charter, as well as with agreed regional and continental instruments and mechanisms, including the African Union (AU)-EU Memorandum of Understanding on Peace, Security and Governance. Angola and the EU exchanged views on the regional situation and noted the role played by Angola, notably in SADC, ECCAS and the International Conference on the Great Lakes (ICGLR). They reaffirmed their commitment to pursue dialogue cooperation in multilateral fora to address global challenges and crisis situations, always bearing in mind the importance of looking for 'African solutions to African problems'.
Maritime security remains an area of common interest. The participants welcomed the existing cooperation and committed to continue working together and with regional stakeholders to promote Angolan and regional mechanisms, in line with the Luanda Declaration and the Yaoundé Architecture. Cooperation will materialise in particular through EU funded projects such as the GoGIN (Gulf of Guinea Information Network) and PASSMAR (Support Programme to the Maritime Security Strategy in Central Africa), but also through the EU funded first post-graduate course on Law of the Sea at Universidade Agostinho Neto and the sharing of good practices from the EU Maritime Safety Agency. The EU reiterated its commitment to continue supporting national efforts to achieve an integrated Angolan maritime strategy, while calling for the operationalisation of the Multinational Coordination Centre for zone A in Luanda and for the ratification of the Lomé Charter.
The participants exchanged views on their respective challenges and visions in relation to migration, mobility and border management. They expressed their intention to increase their cooperation on migration, border management and the fight against trafficking in human beings, in accordance with international law. This will be taken forward by sharing good practices and promoting cooperation through the Africa-Frontex Intelligence Community or by providing EU expertise on migration through the MIEUX programme, while strengthening regional and multilateral cooperation and dialogue within SADC and the United Nations frameworks.
The participants concurred on the need to join forces to tackle the major challenge of climate change and ensure the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, Katowice COP24 Rulebook being a key tool in that regard, as well as on cooperating towards the establishment of the national monitoring, reporting and verification system of the Angolan climate policy.
In this context, Angola reaffirmed its commitment to ratify the Paris Agreement. The participants agreed on the need to work together on measures aimed at the transition to a low-carbon and climate resilient economy and society. Given the level of urgency, the parties agreed to join forces to achieve ambitious results at the United Nations Climate and Sustainable Development Goals Summits of 23 and 24 September 2019 and in other high level events in pursuit of the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
The participants reiterated their full commitment to maintaining the Joint Way Forward as a forum for constructive dialogue and cooperation based on the principles of mutual respect, openness, democracy, rule of law and transparency. Such a partnership can allow a fruitful cooperation with a view to tackle internal and global challenges in the interest of both Angola and the EU.
The participants welcomed the already achieved adjustments of the instruments put at the disposal of the partnership with the adoption of a Dialogue Facility and of an Economic Governance programme, in line with the Government of Angola’s ambitious reform agenda.
They agreed on the need to make full use of existing instruments in order to enhance cooperation in the economic and social fields, but also in the peace and security area, in line with agreed global, continental and regional mechanisms contemplated in the EU-Africa Partnership. The Joint Way Forward should also continue to offer a privileged forum for high-level dialogue and concrete cooperation activities on good governance and human rights related issues, by using all the instruments available.
The participants agreed that the next Senior Officials and Ministerial meetings will take place in Brussels during the second semester of 2020.