The political and economic interest of EU member states in Africa and the interest in gaining an economic partner on an equal footing with Africa has risen sharply in recent
The political and economic interest of EU member states in Africa and the interest in gaining an economic partner on an equal footing with Africa has risen sharply in recent years. This makes sense given the closeness of Africa to Europe and the reality that Africa is young and has huge globally significant growth prospects while Europe is ageing and stuck in relative slow economic growth patterns.
Questions remain however regarding the interest of significant sections of the European private sector in responding proactively to the agenda set out by influential political leaders and the European Union Commission. Is the state level push for a new engagement shared sufficiently? The jury is still out. It is clear however 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?
On 6th May, we will discuss these questions with 30 to 40 top representatives from politics and business from Europe and Africa to assess the necessity and possible terms of a new deal with Africa.
(By invitation only)
(Monday) 15:00 - 19:30