The opening ceremony was conducted by both Neven Mimica, commissioner in charge of International Cooperation and Development for the European Commission, and HE Quartey Thomas Kwesi, deputy chairperson of the African Union Commission for the African Union. The vice-president of the African Development Bank, Pierre Guislain, was the guest of honour.
Africa's shared objectives on development cannot be achieved without strong investment by African governments, by the private sector and by development partners such as the EU. Private sector engagement is moving outside of the traditional domain of large projects and is now catering to start-ups and young entrepreneurs. The African Development Bank (AfDB) reaffirms its willingness to partner in Africa’s development, including in the area of improving the investment climate. Priority areas where blended finance is needed have been identified and the European Union would like to formally launch a sustainable business for Africa platform at the Africa-EU Summit in November, and to have the new European External Investment Plan endorsed by the African Union at the same time.
The central thread of the forum was job creation, which will also be the focus of the EU-Africa Summit later this year, where the EEIP will be formally launched and endorsed by the African Union. Between now and then, the dialogue must continue and more business events, like today’s forum, are planned for the next few months. This will culminate in the 6th EU-Africa Business Forum (EABF), which takes place shortly before the EU-Africa Summit. Investing in job creation, particularly for youth, is the EABF’s central theme, and will also be so at the Heads of State and Government Summit in November. But as Mr Mimica put it, now is the time to go beyond declarations to define a solid set of deliverables.
Neven Mimica, Commissioner in charge of International Cooperation and Development, European Commission (Bio)
H.E Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission (Bio)
Pierre Guislain, Vice President, African Development Bank, Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialisation (Bio)