On Monday, 6th May, United Europe for the first time hosted a CEO Roundtable on the need for new European and African relations. The discussion took part at ESMT Berlin.
Participants included Feven Ahlers (Solino), Dr Elke Baumann (BMF), Dagmar Bottenbruch (Business Angel), Dr. Albrecht Conze (German Ambassador to Uganda), Cédric Filet (CEO Aldelia), Dr Jürgen Großmann (United Europe), Lauren A. Johnston (Mercator Institute for Chinese Studies), Brenda Katwesigye (Founder and CEO Wazi Vision, Uganda), Dr Michael Köhler (European Commission), Dr Frannie Léautier (The Southern and Eastern Trade and Development Bank (TDB), Tansania), Dr Stefan Oswald (BMZ), Martin Schoeller (Schoeller Holding), Dr Wolfgang Schüssel (United Europe), Beate Wedekind (TheNewEthopia/Journal of Change), and Martin B. Wiesmann (JP Morgan).
The roundtable was moderated by Maximilian Jarret (Abundenta Divina (Media) Ltd., UK).
It is clear that the business community across Europe and in Africa has much to gain from a new proactive and win-win economic partnership between Africa and Europe across the board. It also cannot and should not rely on governments to continue to set the pace and shoulder all risks.
But how can this be done between a politically weakened and inward-looking Europe and a highly fragmented African continent of 55 countries with insignificant levels of intra-African trade which is only now moving ahead to operationalise a Continental Free Trade Area? Due to recent history of political and economic instability and poor governance, many players in the European private sector – understandably – keep perceiving Africa as a highly risky business environment. How and with whom can proactive new partnerships be achieved at eye level? How should and could Europe support Africa’s further development in a spirit of true partnership? To what extent is there still a demand for European engagement as China is overwhelming African governments with its Belt and Road Initiative?
These questions were discussed by the 40 top representatives from politics and business from Europe and Africa to assess the necessity and possible terms of a new deal with Africa.
A summary is following soon.