"We need a 'New Deal' between Africa and Europe, a deal of equal partners where we set our priorities together, we identify the problems together and we all take responsibility for reaching our common goals," said EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, opening the 6th EU-Africa Business Forum in Abidjan on 27 November.
Improving the conditions for investment in Africa is essential to create jobs and promote sustainable development. "The EU is committed to team up with Africa and has set up a 44 billion euros External Investment Plan to unlock the untapped potential in sectors such as infrastructure, digital transformation and trade," announced EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica today at the EU-Africa Business Forum in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire.
Youth is the focus of this partnership and investment. By 2050, the African continent’s youth population is expected to double but for the estimated 10-12 million people entering the workforce each year, only 3 million formal jobs are created. Business involvement is crucial to eradicate poverty and ensure sustainable development in Africa, as aid alone will not be enough.
The European Union, through instruments like the European Investment Plan, is determined to strengthen partnership and promote a different model of participation with the private sector in Africa. Not only working through a mechanism of financial guarantee, but also closely collaborating with business in order to improve investment in EU partner countries.
With a contribution of €4.1 billion from the European Commission, the External Investment Plan is expected to leverage more than €44 billion of investments by 2020.
Held just ahead of the EU-African Union leaders' summit on 29-30 November, the business summit offers an opportunity to policy-makers, business leaders and entrepreneurs to look at the challenges and opportunities for investment in Africa in line with strategic priorities, such as the digital economy, agriculture & agribusiness and renewable energy. It will also aim to provide solutions, particularly for the growing number of youth and women entrepreneurs. Through high level panel discussions, solutions sessions and investment pitches, the private sector showcases its commitment for sharing the role with the public sector in the implementation of the global sustainable development goals.
The forum also brings together 135 young entrepreneurs and startups from both continents to showcase their projects in The Digital Start-up Fair, where they can express their vision for the future of Africa and Europe, to exchange with mature companies and to interact with government representatives.