June 14, 2024

Brussels, March 19, 2024 – The African Union Commission (AUC) and the European Union hosted a High-level Conference marking the expansion of the strategic EU-AU health partnership. The AU delegation was led by the AUC, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD). The EU delegation was led by the Belgian Presidency of the European Council and the European Commission.

Building on the health commitments of the 6th EU-AU Summit and outcomes of the Addis Ababa AU-EU High-level dialogue, the AU and EU expanded collaboration in priority areas of common interest in the New Public Health Order and the EU Global Health Strategy, such as strengthening pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, One Health, AMR, digital health, climate and health. This collaboration is a positive example of the AU-EU partnership to support global health in multilateral fora. Enhancing equitable access to safe, qualitive, effective and affordable health services and products and national sovereignty will be key to reach SDG-targets such as achieving Universal Health Coverage. Therefore, it is crucial to support social protection systems which incorporate social health protection, aiming at gradually granting universal health coverage as well as at providing income security in case of sickness. The AU and EU further stressed the importance of the health sector in the creation of jobs and growth. They also expressed their commitment to conclude negotiations on a pandemic agreement and International Health Regulations by the May 2024 World Health Assembly.

Most African countries are struggling to ensure sustainable and equitable access to the health products needed to meet the continent’s priority health needs. At the same time, the EU has expertise in health as well as manufacturing and access, including regulation of health products and has set out clear targets in supporting human development in its international partnerships.

With this High-level conference, the EU engages in continued technical collaboration on health in Africa and investments in strengthening Africa’s health security architecture. The EU’s Global Gateway strategy will be key to deliver on these commitments, notably through Team Europe Initiatives, increasing the resilience of European and African health systems in response to the rapidly shifting health burden, social protection, the impact of climate change and emerging health threats while considering innovative science, sharing of technical expertise and knowledge (as well as multi-stakeholder commitments).

The Belgian Presidency and the European Commission will follow up on the high-level conference in the European Council and in the governing bodies of the EU’s international cooperation instruments, aligned with shared interests and ambitions of European and African partners.

African Union Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development,

H.E. Amb. Minata Samate Cessouma

The establishment of the African Medicines Agency (AMA) marks a crucial step forward in safeguarding health security on the continent by ensuring the availability and the accessibility of quality pharmaceutical products. This availability and accessibility facilitate prevention strategies and rapid responses to health emergencies, strengthening regulatory capacities and promoting regional cooperation and harmonisation of standards. By harmonising regulatory processes and promoting access to effectual medical products, the AMA can significantly enhance public health outcomes and promote sustainable development in Africa, as envisioned in the Africa Health Strategy (2016-2030) and the African Union Agenda 2063. AMA is also envisioned to bolster research and development efforts within the continent, fostering innovation and self-reliance in addressing health challenges specific to the continent. Looking to the future, the African Union Commission is enthusiastic about knowledge-sharing between the European Union and Africa to leverage the experience of establishing the European Mediines Agency to chart guidance and regulatory pathways for the development and approval of new manufacturing technologies and processes.

Belgian Minister of Development Cooperation and Major Cities,

H.E. Caroline GENNEZ

The EU and Africa express a shared vision of health as the precondition for social development. African countries have extensive experience in the containment of epidemics; European countries have some of the best and most accessible healthcare in the world. Global health is an area in which the EU offers added value as a partner to Africa based on its expertise and experience. Europe bolsters its international partnerships by focusing on its unique selling proposition. Our cooperation on this front will improve health outcomes for countless of people, in Africa and Europe. Our focus will be on building affordable, available and high-quality healthcare systems.

European Commissioner for International Partnerships,

H.E. Jutta URPILAINEN

Learning the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, the AU and the EU are committed to advance health systems and strengthen health capacities globally. This joint commitment was well reflected in the Global Gateway investment package, which we presented at the AU-EU Summit of 2022. We are proud of the results achieved in increasing local manufacturing of medicines and vaccines in Africa, for Africa. Today we launch three major Team Europe Initiatives on health security, digital health and public health institutes, and strengthen cooperation between our institutions. This is another step forward to better confront evolving health challenges and to enhance the resilience of our communities.

European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety,

H.E. Stella KYRIAKIDES

An ever-closer partnership between the African Union and the European Union is indispensable for public health. We want to work more closely with our African partners on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, One Health and anti-microbial resistance, as well as the health effects of climate change. These are core objectives for our EU Global Health Strategy and the foundations of our cooperation with the African continent. We are now at a critical stage of the negotiations on the pandemic agreement and the international health regulations, with which we would provide new multilateral solutions to common challenges. The EU is committed to conclude the negotiations by May, a responsibility equally shared by all nations. I am pleased that the African Union and EU are joining voices and taking concrete steps to support global health internationally.

Africa CDC Director General,

H.E Dr Jean Kaseya

“As we navigate the complexities of global health, Africa is on the path towards self-sufficiency through equitable access to medical products. Africa’s target of producing 60% of vaccines by 2040 through the Africa CDC underscores our commitment to health sovereignty. Through strategic partnerships like the EU-AU collaboration, we accelerate our capabilities, leveraging expertise and resources to build resilient health systems and strengthen Pandemic preparedness.”

Specific outcomes of the high-level conference include the following concrete engagements:

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