This paper focuses on African policy positions on migration to Europe and towards cooperation on migration with the EU and its Member States. It draws on existing research to discuss the key features and drivers of migration policies in Africa. Paying attention to both commonalities and variations across different national economic and political contexts, the paper discusses seven inter-related factors that inform, influence and determine the policy approaches of African countries: (i) the common view that migration and development are intrinsically linked; (ii) the political regime type and domestic politics (both of which can influence governments’ responsiveness to human rights issues, public demands related to bilateral agreements on migration both from within the country and outside); (iii) the financial gains to be made from cooperation with the EU in the form of development aid as well as remittances; (iv) diplomacy, geographic proximity and routes to Europe; (v) policy and capability limitations of current migration governance structures; (vi) lobbying by migration facilitators and, in some cases, corruption; and (vii) the pan-African agenda of integration, especially on the mobility of persons. Considering the dynamics of past and existing Africa-Europe agreements, I argue that the power asymmetry (financial and diplomatic) between Europe and Africa has distorted the priorities of Africa and created pressure to implement policies that give precedence to Europe’s interests over those of African countries and migrants. The paper further discusses the implications of these dynamics in the Africa-Europe migration partnership, including the challenges and opportunities for more effective cooperation in the future.