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The European Commission is proposing a new 'Africa – Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs' to substantially boost investment in Africa, strengthen trade, create jobs, and invest in education and skills. Today's package builds on the commitments taken during the African Union – European Union Summit which took place in November last year in Abidjan, where the two continents agreed to strengthen their partnership. It sets out the key strands of action for a stronger economic agenda for the EU and its African partners.
High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: "Europe and Africa share many of the same interests: we both want a stronger Africa – with quality jobs for its youth, a better business climate, and peace and security for all. In these years we have started to build a real partnership of equals with Africa. We are already strong political partners, the next step is to be true economic partners and deepen our trade and investment relationship. We want to give young people opportunities to achieve their aspirations. Boosting responsible investment in Africa is a win-win for both sides."
Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said: "This Alliance is about unlocking private investment and exploring the huge opportunities that can produce benefits for African and European economies alike. It is about stepping up our partnership and putting our weight behind African initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area."
Today's proposal shows commitment to reinforce the Africa-EU Partnership and outlines a series of key actions that include:
The Alliance will lead to concrete results such as the creation of up to 10 million jobs in the next 5 years. With EU financial support mobilised by 2020:
Consultation and dialogue with African partners will be organised in the coming months to jointly define priorities and take further action. The Alliance will take into account the diversity across the African continent and the specificities of each country, including the contractual relations of the Northern African countries through their Association Agreements and their experience of co-operation with the EU through the European Neighbourhood Policy.
The Commission's proposal for an 'Africa – Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs' is part of a package which also includes a proposal for a more efficient financial architecture for investment outside the European Union, which will also support further investment in Africa.
Under President Juncker's leadership, the EU has been strengthening its partnership with Africa, including with new innovative tools, on top of traditional cooperation instruments, notably the very ambitious External Investment Plan.
The EU is Africa's closest neighbour and biggest investor, the main trading and development partner and a key security provider. The EU is providing €31 billion in Official Development Assistance to Africa between 2014-2020 to boost Africa's economy to give young people in the continent a chance to build a future, to ensure food security and access to energy, and to anchor good governance and respect of human rights. The EU's Member States held an investment stock of €291 billion in 2016, making the EU the biggest investor in Africa. The EU also offers free access to the EU market via Economic Partnership Agreements, Free Trade Agreements including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas with the countries of North Africa and the Everything But Arms scheme with African countries.