African and European representatives of the private and public sector concluded major deals to support Africa’s sustainable growth and creating decent jobs at the 7th EU-Africa Business Forum (EABF). The Forum took place on 16-17 February in a hybrid format, as part of the Africa-Europe Week and in the margins of the African Union-European Union Summit. Financial institutions, business organisations and other actors signed or announced more than 20 agreements to support areas such as health, agriculture, clean energy, youth and entrepreneurship, digital, automotive and others.
European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen said: “I am pleased to see the EU-Africa Business Forum yields tangible trade and investment results. These commitments will benefit businesses and people on both continents. We will only achieve our common goal of a strong, inclusive, green and digital recovery by joining forces with our partner organisations and the private sector. Supporting young entrepreneurs is particularly close to my heart. Youth’s energy and creativity is crucial to Africa’s booming economy.”
Together with the African Commissioner for Trade and Industry Albert Muchanga and the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen attended the signature of a landmark cooperation agreement between the African Business Council, the top body promoting Pan-African business interests, and the ITC. The ITC is a major partner of the European Union that supports EU-Africa economic and trade relations with independent high quality data analysis and insight.
Stakeholders made the biggest commitments in the area of health, totalling €312 million. Two partnerships of particular importance were signed by Afreximbank with:
- German development bank KFW, to develop local production capacities for vaccines and medical products as well as strengthening African countries’ response to the pandemic totalling an overall €250 million;
- French development bank AFD, to support procurement of COVID-19 vaccines for €50 million.
Another major focus area of the agreements, which amount to almost €98 million, is agriculture. Additional resources in the EU-backed programme AgriFI will increase support to boosting Africa’s sustainable agriculture. Similarly, rural microfinance will receive further backing by EIB Global, the new specialised arm of the European Investment Bank.
In addition, a number of stakeholders aim at concentrating their efforts on supporting:
- clean energy totalling €73 million;
- youth and entrepreneurship for almost €58 million;
- automotive for €12 million;
- finance for €10 million;
- digitalisation for €0.7 million.
These agreements include two new EU guarantees for an overall €65 million launched under the enhanced European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+):
- the €35 million FISEA+ guarantee with AFD will ease access to finance for underserved entrepreneurs in Africa. As a result, the Programme expects to support or create 15,000 jobs;
- the €30 million CITIRYZ guarantee with AFD will ease access to finance for local governments in Africa. This will enable them to invest more in health, transport, infrastructure and ultimately lead to reducing poverty.
In line with the EU Global Gateway initiative to boost investments, these pledges with the total value of over €590 million demonstrate the commitment of all Team Europe actors.
In addition to the financial commitments, EABF led to agreements bolstering structural relations between the public and private sectors: the African Business Council and the African Association of Automobile Manufacturers signed Memoranda of Understandings with important counterparts in Europe and Africa.
Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, highlighted: “Ensuring that African start-ups, entrepreneurs, smallholders and businesses can harness new opportunities, create jobs and expand is essential for Africa, Europe and the world. Today, as EIB Global, we are unveiling innovative high impact cooperation that will back businesses across the continent, strengthening economic resilience to the impact of COVID-19, and building a better future. The EU-Africa Business Forum ensures that the impact of scaling up sustainable private sector investment across Africa is recognised ahead of the EU-African Union summit.”
Odile Renaud-Basso, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, said: “The EBRD is very active in the southern and eastern Mediterranean region, especially in our North African countries of operations: Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. We operate there with a great focus on green transition, digitalisation and economic inclusion through investments, policy reform and advice. We are delighted to have signed new commitments in all these areas and taken concrete steps for the development of dynamic and resilient economies, in cooperation with our European partners.”
Amany Asfour, President of the African Business Council, said: “I would like to thank the European Union Commission and African Union Commission for organizing the EU-Africa Business Forum which emphasizes the Role of Private Sector as a partner of development. Africa Business Council is the voice of African private Sector established in line with the African Union Decision Summit to boost our Intra Africa Trade has its founding vision of A Competetive Borderless Innovative Africa for trade, industrialization and investment. This partnership of equals of private sector from both continents is crucial for realising the Africa We want based on creation of jobs,transfer of Technology, value addition for raw materials, industrialization. An enabling business environment for investment of our partners from Europe and with the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area investment in infrastructure energy and industrialization will have an impact on the daily life of our people. Africa Business Council thanks the organizers and all the great team who contributed for this fantastic successful event.”
Prof. Benedict Oramah,President of Afreximbank,commented: “Our relationship with the German Development Bank (KFW) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has been extremely productive over the years. We are delighted to have expanded and deepened it with this loan. Afreximbank has worked tirelessly to support member states as they work to collectively attain the African Union’s goal of vaccinating at least 70% of the continent’s population by the end of 2022. Today’s announcement serves as a validation of the Bank’s Covid-19 response strategy and its extension to develop pharmaceutical capacity in Africa.”
Bruno Wenn, Chairman at EDFI, said: “Financing alone is not the solution for supporting enterprises as the engine of growth and decent jobs in Africa. Enterprises need a business environment that allows them to grow and generate jobs. Impact and efficiency will be greater if the development agenda is much more designed towards the private sector. This calls for a concerted effort by all actors especially multilateral development banks and governments. We, at EDFI, are committed to deepen the collaboration with other DFIs, development banks and agencies across Africa and Europe. The EU-Africa Business Forum constitutes an important step in this direction.”
Christiane Laibach, Member of the Executive Board at KfW Group, commented: “The African continent has been hard hit by the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. This is why it is important to reduce the impact on the health of the population and the economy. The development and strengthening of local production capacities for vaccines and medical products aims to promote the self-reliance of African countries in their response to the pandemic and reduce dependence on non-African products and international supply chains.”
Remy Rioux, Directeur général de l’AFD a déclaré :“Avec Cityriz, le groupe AFD se dote d’un nouvel outil pour accompagner la transition territoriale et écologique des villes africaines. Ce programme devrait permettre de mobiliser d’ici 4 années près de 100 millions d'euros d'engagements en prêts en faveur d'investissements urbains durables en Afrique.“
Main organisers who led the signature ceremonies included:
- African Association of Automobile Manufacturers (AAAM)
- Agence Française de Développement (AFD)
- Afreximbank (African Export-Import Bank)
- African Business Council
- Association of bilateral European Development Finance Institutions (EDFI)
- European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
- European Investment Bank (EIB)
- German Association of Automotive Industry (VDA)
- International Trade Center (ITC)
- KfW Development Bank
Co-organised by the European Commission, the African Union Commission, as well as EU and African business organisations and key institutions, the EU-Africa Business Forum 2022 brought together business and political leaders from both continents to increase opportunities for sustainable economic partnerships. More than 15,000 participants could attend 30 high-level panels, over 200 online events, 300 online booths, and build networks across the continents. Find more information here.
- Publication date
- 18 February 2022
- Directorate-General for International Partnerships