EU relations with the ACP group date back to the 1975 Lomé Convention, revised on four occasions until 1989. This was replaced by the Cotonou Agreement in 2000, revised in 2005 in Luxembourg and in 2010 in Ouagadougou, and covers EU-ACP relations until 2020. Currently, the ACP Group includes 79 countries: 48 from sub-Saharan Africa, 16 from the Caribbean and 15 from the Pacific region.
The Cotonou Agreement broadens the scope of EU-ACP partnership while seeking to adapt it to the changing international environment and the deriving challenges. Its three pillars are:
1. development cooperation (funded by the EDF)
2. economic and trade cooperation through the EPA's, seeking to make EU-ACP trade regimes WTO-compatible
3. a stronger political dimension with an emphasis on Article 8 on political dialogue.
The main financial instrument for development cooperation in ACP countries is the European Development Fund (EDF). The EDF is now at its 10th round (2008-2013) and includes three financial envelopes: a national envelope covering bilateral cooperation with individual ACP countries (National Indicative Strategies and Programmes), a regional one covering relations with ACP regions (Regional Indicative Strategies and Programmes), namely Central Africa, West Africa, Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Caribbean and the Pacific; and a third one (intra-ACP ) to address the common challenges facing ACP States that transcend geographical criteria. Moreover, the intra-ACP envelope funds the African Peace Facility, which, within the Joint Africa-EU Strategy, contributes among other initiatives to the African Union Peace Support Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).