The European Union plays important roles in diplomacy, the promotion of human rights, trade, development and humanitarian aid and working with multilateral organisations. Within Africa, COMESA, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, is an important trading partner of the EU-28, in particular for mineral fuels.

The relations between the EU and COMESA are conducted within the framework of the Cotonou Agreement, the global agreement between the countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group and the EU.

As economic integration is at the core of COMESA’s mandate and is an area where the EU has a unique experience, the EU regional relations with COMESA are concentrating on Regional Economic Integration, aiming at reducing the cost of cross-border trade through removal of internal barriers. It seeks to increase private sector participation in regional and global value chains as well as enhancing the capacity of the COMESA Secretariat and Member States to deepen regional integration.

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and The European Union (EU) partnership has been evolving since the 1980s and it is shaped by COMESA’s needs and priorities. Therefore, COMESA Member States can benefit from various cross-regional envelopes in areas such as Infrastructure, Wildlife, Economic Partnership Agreements, Water, Migration, Fisheries, Maritime Security, and Great Lakes.

With COMESA accounting for 18 % of EU-28 imports from Africa and 20 % of exports to Africa in 2015, the European Union (EU) is one of COMESA’s main trading partner.