Call for proposals - The challenges of the European Union-Africa trade partnership


In the context of a global pandemic and challenges related to ecological transition, European and African countries must define their priorities to redesign their partnership, particularly in terms of trade and investment.
In order to prepare for discussing trade matters during the EU-Africa summit which will be presided over by France, Franck Riester, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, is calling for contributions towards the "challenges of the EU-Africa trade partnership".
This initiative will mobilize the academic research community (African, French and European) and initiate a dialogue between the Heads of State and Government along with the various stakeholders involved in this partnership.
In this regard, the Secretariat for the French presidency of the Council of the EU (EUFP) invites potential contributors to submit policy briefs on the EU-Africa trade partnership. Please express your interest in the form of a policy brief on one or more of the thematic areas listed below.

What are the themes of the call for proposals?

The themes below are indicative and not exhaustive. Authors are encouraged to consider both long- and short-term impacts.


1. Regional and Continental Integration: the role of the EU in deepening the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

  • What is the economic outlook for AfCFTA?
  • What are the obstacles to regional (focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and regional trade organizations outside North Africa) and continental integration?
  • What is the specific nature of EU support compared to other international donors?

2. Potential and prospects for the future of trade and investment relations between the EU and African countries:

  • What are the barriers for European companies to trade and invest in Africa and vice versa?
  • What are the incentives for European companies to trade and invest in Africa and vice versa?

3. The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership at a time of strategic autonomy:

  • What areas of cooperation over mutual interest (commercial, regulatory) could be identified to strengthen EU-Mediterranean trade relations?
  • What instruments could be mobilized to underpin this revival of trade relations? (improving the preference utilization rate (PUR) under Free Trade Agreements/ prospect of concluding agreements on conformity assessment and acceptance of industrial products (Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA))/ PEM Convention regarding preferential rules of origin).
  • Which industrial sectors could be identified to ensure a strengthening of Euro-Mediterranean value chains ("nearshoring")?
  • What incentives should be used by Southern Mediterranean countries to enable the Euro-Mediterranean trade partnership to reach its full potential: business climate, investment climate, customs rules, strengthening of logistical capacities?
  • What are the logistical challenges for strengthening trade between the two shores of the Mediterranean?
  • What are the incentives for strengthening South-South regional integration in the Mediterranean?

4. Renewal of trade relations with sub-Saharan Africa:

  • Widening and deepening of Economic Partnership Agreements (including the EU-OACP EPA) - what trends to take into account and what benefits to expect?
  • How to improve the preference utilization rate with African countries and harmonize the rules of origin of the agreements (focus on EPA)?
  • Coherence and complementarity of economic partnership agreements with African countries in relation to the Free Trade Agreement: is it a complementary or contradictory process?
  • How can civil society in partner countries be better involved in the deepening and implementation of economic partnership agreements?

5. Sustainable Development and Trade in Africa:

  • How can trade policy be an incentive for sustainable development?
  • How can civil society be better integrated into the deepening of the sustainable development component of trade agreements?
  • How does the European Union and the Member States’ aid for trade take into account environmental and social issues, and what areas of improvement should be considered?
  • How can technical assistance help beneficiary countries comply with environmental and social requirements?

How to prepare and submit a contribution?

Policy briefs must be submitted by 7 January 2022 to conference-afrique.pfue at
The EUFP Secretariat will consolidate expressions of interest and give a response to the authors on the basis of the suggestions and comments made by the Scientific Council. The recommendations of policy briefs will be presented during the summit expected in February 2022.
Policy briefs (PBs) should include clear and practical recommendations for leaders attending the EU-AU Summit. They should also be written from a socio-economic perspective. The PBs should aim to:

  • support the development of common trade, industrial, or environmental policies;
  • give information about the policy options available to African and European countries;
  • address the underlying policy challenges and include well-argued, concrete, and actionable policy recommendations.

The entire process of preparing PBs should pave the way for policy coherence and ensure that recommendations are shared with policymakers in a timely manner.

What is the expected structure of policy briefs?

Each policy brief (max. 10 pages) should follow the following structure:

1. Title of the policy brief (up to 130 characters)
2. Authors and affiliation. Please list only one affiliation per author
3. Date of submission
4. Abstract (up to 100 words): A summary of the issue addressed and your proposal. Please describe the main conclusions of your proposal.
5. Problem (200-500 words): A summary of the problem your proposal aims to solve.
6. Proposal (1,000-2,500 words): a statement of your policy proposal with a rationale and suggestions on how to implement the proposal. You may add graphics or images to your proposal (JPG or PNG, max. 5MB per graphic or image). It is also possible to use subheadings and lists (numbered or not) to structure your proposal
7. Bibliographic References: A list of references for your proposal. If you create a hyperlink to an external page or to a PDF, please ensure that you are not infringing upon any existing or future intellectual property rights.
8. Appendix (optional; up to 500 words). This space can be used to add any relevant information that has not been included in the main text, such as a list of existing political agreements (e.g., the G20 communiqué), policies and/or previous research related to the proposal.
9. Authorisation for the distribution of the note and the visuals provided (by all authors).