AFRICA EUROPE PARTNERSHIP
Author: Matteo Aristei
2019, July 19th
The European Commission develops a new Africa Europe partnership for sustainable investments and employment that aims to substantially stimulate investment in Africa, create jobs, strengthen trade and invest in skills and education . Today ‘s projects are based on the commitments made at the African Union – European Union summit held in Abidjan in November last year, on which the two continents decided to strengthen their partnership . It shows the main lines of action for a more robust economic program for the EU and its African partners .
The European Union, more than China and the US today, trades and exports to Africa : for example, ” foreign investment in Africa is 40 % for Europe, 5 % for China “.
Furthermore, the task force was created by the European Commission in May 2018 and it was set up to give opinions and advice on strengthening the Africa Europe partnership for food and agriculture . The European Commission will ensure the follow – up and implementation of various actions recommended by this group of experts to support the development of the agri – food sector and the rural economy of Africa .
In these four years of work of the Juncker Commission, a partnership of equals with the continent closest to Europe, whose development and security also guarantee those of Europe, has developed according to the high representative Federica Mogherini at the Brussels press conference, presenting the new ” Africa – Europe Alliance ” for sustainable investments and work, to which President Jean Claude Junker referred a short time ago in the State of the Union . After the private investment plan launched two years ago, work is about to be consolidated, developed and improved .
The Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, states : ” The entry into force of the continental free trade area demonstrates the determination of our African partners to promote business opportunities on the continent . The EU and Africa are key partners for trade and investments . This historic stage brings us closer to greater EU – Africa economic integration, a key objective of the Africa – Europe alliance . ”
The Commissioner responsible for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, says : ” This is a major step towards the economic integration of Africa, which I congratulate our African partners . The EU supports the continental area of free trade since its establishment, both politically and technically, and with financial resources exceeding 60 million euro . This is a pillar of the Africa – Europe partnership, as trade and integrated markets in Africa will foster sustainable investments and job creation . ”
The priorities of this new cooperation will be renewable energy and transport, young people, improvement of climate to encourage local resources, improvement of intra – African trade relations together with Europe .
Today ‘s proposal demonstrates the commitment to strengthen the Africa – EU partnership and outlines a series of key actions including :
• investing in people through investments in skills and education, at international and national level, to improve employment and adapt skills to the job offer, also through scholarships and exchange programs, such as in the framework of Erasmus +;
• promote strategic investments and strengthen the role of the private sector, specifically by significantly reducing the risks associated with investment projects through the combination of loans and the provision of guarantees and subsidies ;
• strengthen the business background and promote a more favourable climate for investments, especially by intensifying dialogue with African partners and supporting reforms in the sector ;
• use the full potential of economic integration and trade : based on the implementation of the continental free trade area for Africa, the long – term perspective is to conclude an extensive intercontinental free trade agreement between the EU and Africa . To this end, it is necessary to make the most of economic partnership agreements, free trade agreements, including global free trade areas and in – depth proposals to the countries of North Africa, and other trade regimes with the EU, as constituent elements of the area continental free trade for Africa ;
• mobilize a huge financial resource package, as shown in particular by the proposal for the next EU multiannual financial framework on external financing, in which Africa is considered a priority region .
Consultation and dialogue with African partners will be organized in the coming months to define priorities and take further measures jointly . The alliance will take into account the diversity of the African continent and the specificities of each country, including the contractual relations of the countries of North Africa within the respective association agreements and their experience in cooperation with the EU in the framework of the policy European Neighbourhood Policy .