High-level talks with key players, intense networking supported by artificial intelligence, a virtual market place for green projects - all this contributed to the success of the event.
The all-digital 2021 EU-Africa Business Forum, held on 16 and 20-21 April, brought together over 3 000 participants, including government representatives, business leaders and investors from Africa and Europe. Together they discussed how to accelerate the transition to green energy in Africa, widen energy access, and in doing so, create jobs and a sustainable economic recovery from COVID-19.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “The green transition is not only a necessity to fight climate change. The green transition is the greatest economic opportunity of our times. It can be the driver of our recovery, both in Europe and in Africa. The potential of the green economy in Africa is massive. Green investment is a shared European and African interest. It’s time to discuss how to mobilise more of it, especially ahead of COP26 and the EU-Africa Summit.”
European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen said: “The EU’s Strategy with Africa is about building a more sustainable future for all. Ahead of the next EU-AU Summit, we need to identify how best to support the green transition in Africa. Boosting investment by African and European businesses and private investors is key. This Forum, including the Green Talk, has been a fantastic way for them to contribute to the dialogue and meet each other.”
Her Excellency Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, added: “Securing Africa’s energy future, and connecting the half of Africans who still lack access to reliable energy and clean cooking, is essential and urgent. Renewables will be vital. So I’m delighted that the African Union has co-hosted this Forum to enable businesses, investors and public administrations to share their insights in this area ahead of the next AU-EU Summit.”
The European Commission and the African Union Commission hosted the Forum, along with the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
On 16 April, the Forum comprised a High-Level Green Talk entitled the ‘Accelerating the EU-Africa Partnership for Green Energy Transition in Africa’. Representatives of the business community and public administrations called for rapid action to reach the continent’s targets for renewables and climate action, and develop tailored support for businesses to invest and operate across the continent.
Then on 20 and 21 April, the Forum hosted a virtual marketplace for African and EU green energy project promoters and 38 public and private partner organisations. Company representatives exchanged ideas, explored partnerships and sought funding for green energy projects in Africa.
The forum used advanced software such as a networking tool supported by artificial intelligence, which allowed more than 3 000 participants to network between green energy projects in Africa and public and private financiers. Ten conferences and workshops were organised over two days to explore specialised topics as a follow-up up to the High Level Green Talk. 6 500 contacts were made and almost 500 meetings were organised between participants.
The EU-Africa Business Forum events formed part of a series of Green Talks organised by the Portuguese Presidency. On 23 April the series ended with a High-Level EU-Africa Green Investment Forum, focusing on Africa’s green future and new investment pathways towards sustainable, inclusive development.
Another major event for the development community will be the European Development Days on 15 and 16 June. This year’s theme is ‘The Green Deal for a Sustainable Future’.
The green agenda is critical to the EU-African partnership, the EU Communication entitled ‘Towards A Comprehensive Strategy with Africa’ and the EU Green Deal. Key outcomes and recommendations of the events will feed into the political discussions ahead of the next EU-AU Summit.
Watch the EU-Africa Business Forum: High Level Green Talk on Accelerating the EU-Africa Partnership for Green Energy Transition in Africa
- Publication date
- 28 April 2021
- Directorate-General for International Partnerships