Catalysing private sector engagement and resources for development: the EU and African perspective (21/07/2015)

The third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) took place from 13-16 July 2015, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Against this background, EU and the African Union Commission organised a side event with an objective to

i) building a strategic framework the private sector can contribute towards achieving the AU “Agenda 2063”

ii) discuss how private sector resources and engagement can be catalysed for development in Africa notably in the agriculture and energy sector.

The side event was a follow up of the 5th EU Africa Business Forum held in 2014 in Brussels and its follow-up workshops held in Brussels and Nairobi in 2014.

In his Statement, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica following the adoption of the “Addis Ababa Action Agenda” by the Third International Conference on Financing for Development; the adopted document rightly identifies the private sector as a key driver for inclusive growth and job creation. It builds a genuine partnership with the private sector, enabling private engagement in line with our common development policy goals. The right regulatory environment needs to be in place for this, and innovative ways of financing, such as blending, will play an important role in leveraging resources - an area in which the EU has been a pioneer, expecting to mobilise €100 billion by 2020.

The Statement further noted; International trade features prominently in today’s agreement as an engine for development and I am proud to say that the EU is already the world's most open market for developing countries' exports. The EU has granted LDCs duty free and quota free market access, resulting in over €35 billion annually of LDC exports to the EU. We are also the world’s main donor of aid for trade.

The discussion tried to respond to topics on :

  • the best practices and lessons learned to strengthen the focus on employment creation in private sector investments, especially for youth and women and the most vulnerable
  • the opportunities and risks for the AU and EU engaging directly with the private sector, and the principles to manage risks and
  • using ODA as a catalyser for leveraging private resources through EU blending instruments ensuring the added value of grant funding in investment projects

The side event reinforced EU's position that the private sector should be actively present, and has a key role to play in the future of global development cooperation. To deliver such a far-reaching post-2015 agenda the EU promotes a global partnership – and a need to business is on board.

The private sector is the engine for inclusive and sustainable growth and a major source of domestic resources and employment in developing countries. It generates innovations and investments with a capacity to tackle climate change and feed the planet, as the world's population will grow to 9 billion people in 2050.

Amany Asfour, Chairperson of COMESA Business Council, Pim van Ballekom, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Sam Kutesa, President of the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), and Fatima Haram Acyl, Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission (AUC) were part of the panel.

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