A Common Future for EU-Africa: Engaging in the Private Sector in Sustainable and Inclusive Growth!
The 5th EU-Africa Business Forum will be convened from 31 March – 1 April, 2014 at a crucial time in the relations between Europe and Africa. This landmark forum is being hosted on the occasion of the IVth Africa-EU Summit by the EU Commission Vice-President, Antonio Tajani, together with Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and Commissioner Karel de Gucht. The presence of political leaders at the highest level will be a testimony of the importance of the role of the private sector in the Joint EU-Africa Strategy. Jointly with the President of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, José Manuel Barroso, President of European Commission, will inaugurate the forum. Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council will deliver the closing remarks.
The Forum, a high level platform to engage with political leaders
Africa's growth is attracting global interest, notably from an industrialization perspective. Europe and Africa have genuine interest in increasing bilateral trade, investment and market integration in mutually beneficial relations, to boost strong sustainable growth and create jobs. However, a common challenge for both Africa and Europe remains the consolidation of sustainable economic growth, in particular to ensure that this growth is inclusive in creating jobs, improving public-private partnership and business climate, and enhancing the development of SMEs. The forum will provide a unique opportunity for African and European companies to network and exchange views on EU-Africa business and investment relations. Furthermore, the Forum will confer a high level platform to engage with political leaders in a concrete and constructive dialogue, where parties Involved hold each other accountable. Hence, the forum will offer opportunities for the private sector to meet political leaders from Europe and Africa.
The EU-Africa Business Forum is inscribed in the Joint Africa-EU Strategy
In what was considered to be an enhancement of the bilateral relations between Europe and Africa, a first ever EU-African Business Forum was held in Brussels in November 2006. In December 2007, at the second Africa-EU Summit in Lisbon, the Heads of State and Government of the 53 African countries and of the 27 members of the European Union (EU), adopted the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES), outlining key elements of their partnership, based on principles such as equality, the unity of the African continent, and interdependence. The JAES confirmed that private sector is a critical partner for achieving its objectives and those of the MDGs.
The 2014 edition of the EU-Africa Business Forum is thus the continuation of a series of Business Fora in the context of the cooperation between the EU and Africa. A summary of previous meetings' recommendations and their follow up will be made and the forum is expected to charter the way forward in terms of follow up on recommendations and monitoring of implementation.
Africa EU Strategy
The Joint Africa-EU Strategy sets out both sides' intention to move beyond a donor/recipient relationship towards long-term cooperation on jointly identified, mutual and complementary interests. It is based on principles of ownership, partnership and solidarity and its adoption marks a new phase in Africa-EU relations.
For more information about the JAES, please visit http://www.africa-eu-partnership.org/about-us
For further information about the relations between the European Union and the African Union, please visit http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/african_union/index_en.htm