First, the introduction discusses the changing context of EU-Africa relations, and the theoretical conundrum underpinning the volume: namely, the gulf between the challenges that lie ahead of the EU and Africa, and the capacity to address them. We argue it is fruitful to tackle the issue by combining Hill‚Äôs conceptualization of the capability-expectation gap with suggestions coming from Pierson‚Äôs historical institutionalism, and the literature on bureaucratic politics. This framework can help explain not only EU-Africa interactions but also the difficulties for Africa as well as for Europe in speaking with one voice, notwithstanding the increasing economic leverage of the former and the level of integration of the latter. Second, the chapter elaborates on the contents of the volume by focusing on how the theoretical framework plays out in the selected policy areas, starting with conflict prevention and migration that have taken centre stage recently, and then moving to the traditional sectors of trade and development cooperation. The concluding part is devoted to political development in African countries, and potential avenues for progress in the EU-Africa partnership.