Principles of cooperation with partner countries

Learn more about the BMEL's priority countries for cooperation and the principles, objectives and instruments of bilateral cooperation with these countries.

Principles of cooperation with Africa

The priority countries for cooperation with Africa are the Republic of South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire in Sub-Saharan Africa and Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia in North Africa.

In June 2011, the Federal Government adopted its Strategy for Africa which also acts as the guiding principle for the BMEL's Africa policy.

The most important partner in Sub-Saharan Africa is the Republic of South Africa. It is Africa's largest national economy, a major emerging economy and the gateway to the entire Southern African region. The objectives of the cooperation include an exchange on global food policy and support for the transformation processes in the farming sector that followed the end of apartheid. South Africa continues to be an important trading partner as a supplier of fruit and wines.

Food security remains a key challenge on the continent. The cooperation with partner countries in Africa focuses on food security by supporting the set-up of sustainable agricultural production with particular emphasis on the interests of small-scale farmers. Additional measures include the revitalisation and sustainable use of forests and agroforestry structures with the goal of improving the living and production conditions in rural areas.

To support the region in realising its major agricultural potential, the BMEL will conduct innovative cooperation projects with countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. A first cooperation project has been launched in Ethiopia with an agricultural advanced training centre and demonstration farm in 2009. In 2014 an economic cooperation project started in Zambia - the German-Zambian Training Center for Agriculture and Know-how. Another potential partner country is Kenya. In West Africa, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire (important raw material suppliers for cocoa) are to be supported in the production and trade of high-quality sustainable cocoa. Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are also currently the priority region for projects which the BMEL supports through the Bilateral Trust Fund of the UN's World Food Organisation (FAO). Cooperation with countries in North Africa is primarily embedded within the context of the EU Neighbourhood Policy and the transformation partnership following the events of the "Arab Spring". Among the North African countries, Morocco is a particularly important partner country for the BMEL. The government programme entitled "Plan Maroc Vert" aims to reform the key sector of agriculture. The BMEL will support these reforms by supporting the agricultural advanced training centre with financial contributions from the German farming sector. An intensive German-Moroccan cooperation has also been developed on food safety. Morocco is an important customer for German breeding animals while Germany primarily imports fruit and vegetables from Morocco. The agreement between the EU and Morocco on liberalising trade in agricultural and fisheries products will further strengthen trade between the two countries.

Cooperation with Egypt and Tunisia is also being intensified within the context of the transformation partnership, including via EU Twinning projects on consumer protection. Both countries are classical importers of cereals and both primarily export olive oil, fruit and vegetables. The EU has concluded association agreements with all three countries, thereby laying the foundations for further expansion of trade.

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© Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture