The European Union's foreign policy and democratic governance in Africa: challenges and options

The EU support for democratic governance in Africa is a priority of its foreign policy since the late 90s. The impact of achievements, however, remains mixed. On the occasion of two major events, namely the 3rd Africa-EU Summit on the 29-30 November 2010 in Tripoli and the entry into force of the European External Action Service (EEAS) on the 1st of December 2010, a debate on the current situation, obstacles and runways seems appropriate. First, the article notes that the multiplicity of instruments that define the European policy to support democratization and governance does not facilitate their understanding. It then highlights the national agendas of EU countries that prevent a coherent implementation of this policy, which limits its effectiveness. Finally, a review of internal barriers to African countries illustrates the enormous challenges ahead for better support complex processes of political, administrative and institutional reforms. Strategic options are proposed based on lessons learned.