On 12 September, on the occasion of his State of the Union Address, President Jean-Claude Juncker said: "Africa does not need charity, it needs true and fair partnership. And we, Europeans need this partnership just as much. Today, we are proposing a new Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs between Europe and Africa. This Alliance, as we envision it, would help create up to 10 million jobs in Africa in the next 5 years alone. I believe we should develop the numerous EU-African trade agreements into a continent-to-continent free trade agreement, as an economic partnership between equals."
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.
The Commission's proposal shows commitment to reinforce the Africa-EU Partnership and outlines a series of key actions that include:
- boosting strategic investment and strengthening the role of the private sector, notably through increased de-risking of investment projects via blending grants and loans, and guarantees;
- investing in people by investing in education and skills, at continental and national level to strengthen employability and match skills and jobs, also including scholarships and exchange programmes, in particular through Erasmus+;
- strengthening business environment and investment climate, in particular by strengthening the dialogue with African partners and supporting their reforms in this field;
- tapping the full potential of economic integration and trade: building on the African Continental Free Trade Area implementation, the long-term perspective is to create a comprehensive continent-to-continent free trade agreement between the EU and Africa. To prepare this, Economic Partnership Agreements, Free Trade Agreements including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas on offer to the countries of North Africa, and other trade regimes with the EU should be exploited to the greatest extent, as building blocks to the benefit of the African Continental Free Trade Area;
- mobilising an important package of financial resources, as reflected in particular in the ambitious proposal for the future Multi-Annual Financial Framework of the EU on external funding, where Africa is highlighted as a priority region.
The full press release is available HERE.
Source and copyright: European Commission