Inaugural conference on June 16, 2022 in Brussels in partnership with the Economist Intelligence Unit. We present here the main topic that will be addressed by our English-speaking panelists.
“Prospects for EU-Africa relations“
Leaders from the European Union (EU) and African Union (AU) met at the sixth EU–AU Summit held in Brussels in February and agreed on the principles of a new partnership and joint vision for 2030. The new approach seeks to build a more equitable and mutually beneficial partnership, and one that enhances the political, economic, social, and technological ties between Europe and Africa in the decade ahead. In addition, the Summit saw the EU agree to boost the supply of Covid-19 vaccines and direct around EUR150bn of its Global Gateway investment funds to Africa. Specific areas of planned cooperation and investment include: energy, transport and digital infrastructure; energy and green transitions; digital transformation; sustainable growth and job creation; transport and logistics facilitation; regional integration, and the health, education, mobility and employability of individuals.
The EU retains pole position among international investors in Africa – as measured by the stock of foreign direct investment – and is the region’s leading trade partner. However, other global powers – especially the US and China – are intent on closing the gap through their own strategic initiatives and outreach. The actions of these and other countries to expand their commercial footprint and political influence across Africa should help provide African leaders with a stronger hand in international negotiations and will act as an underlying force for change as the EU and Africa review their engagement. Africa and the EU are firmly set on a course that should boost bilateral trade and investment flows, while at the same time attempting to tackle longstanding economic, social, security and environmental issues facing Africa.
By 2030, Africa will likely have a more balanced portfolio of external trade and investment partners, enjoy greater integration into global and regional value chains, boast more inter-connected and prosperous economic centres, and have more entrenched democratic principles and transparent governance. However, the region will still have to work very hard – and need the help of external stakeholders – to tackle the persistence of difficult issues of high poverty rates, insufficient investment in healthcare and education services, infrastructure gaps (especially power and water services), environmental issues and the impact of climate change, and the lingering threat of conflict and insecurity.