The EU-Africa Business Forum (EABF) has been the main event preceding the AU-EU Summit since 2006. It is a strategic occasion for EU and African private sectors to identify and/or consolidate joint opportunities in the spirit of the Comprehensive Strategy with Africa and the Africa-Europe Alliance for sustainable investment and jobs. The EABF is a highly visible event organised jointly by the European and the African Unions where both showcase key initiatives to a high quality audience of business leaders. It is an opportunity for business representatives to discuss policy reforms in Africa with key policy makers, with the objective of improving the trade and investment climate. It is also a platform for direct interaction between EU and African business (B2B) with dedicated sessions organised sector by sector.
The EABF 2020 was postponed, and it was decided early 2021 to make the EABF concept as a more permanent one with smaller sectoral events taking place all along the year. This new strategy has been successfully implemented with the sustainable energy EABF Green Talk event organised earlier this year on 16 April 2021 together with the Portuguese Presidency and the EIB. More events are scheduled to take place with the EABF brand before the end of this year.
The 7th EABF will take place in Brussels on 16th-17th February 2022, back to back with the EU-Africa Summit taking place on 17th and 18th February. EABF will also be held in the overall context of the Africa-Europe Week, with hybrid and online events during the week of the 14th February. The full involvement of African and European businesses and their associations is essential to fully deliver a new ambition and format in 2022.
We are reviewing continuously the sanitary situation and its potential impact on the organisation of the event.
THEME, PRIORITIES AND DELIVERABLES
The overall theme for EABF 2022 is “Building stronger value chains for sustainable growth and decent jobs”. Indeed developing strong value chains between Europe and Africa as well as within Africa itself is both a critical issue and the core of ongoing discussions. This is not just important for business, but also for supporting Africa’s sustainable development and improving its citizens’ living conditions.
Three clear thematic overarching priorities are identified from the outset. The following three pillars will structure the event:
- Creating an enabling framework: We will be discussing what are the conditions needed for a substantial African recovery. Market integration – both pan-African and between the EU and Africa – will figure prominently in these discussions. Financing Africa’s future sustainable growth and promoting sustainable sources of energy will be other central topics to be covered.
- Building stronger value chains: Strengthening priority value chains both within Africa and between the EU and Africa will be central to EABF22. A limited number of priority value chains have been selected: health & pharma, agri-food, automotive, fashion & apparel industry and raw materials. The selection is aligned with the findings of a study conducted by the European Commission with the International Trade Center (ITC). Specific focus will be put on the sustainability of all value chains.
- Making it work for the people and the planet: The opportunity arising from the youth event of the Africa-Europe week taking place at the same time offers interconnections to tackle such topics. The Team Europe Initiative ‘Invest in Young Businesses in Africa’ (IYBA) will support a lively discussion on youth & entrepreneurship. How digital can be harnessed to create jobs and contribute to sustainability will be the second topic within that thematic.
Business champions from European and African business will, together with relevant business organisations, ‘lead’ the discussions on the identified priorities and launch the mobilisation dynamic amongst the broader business community.
BUSINESS OUTCOMES & CALLS FOR ACTION
In addition to the business declaration, drafted by business participants under their own responsibility, which will be formally transmitted to the Summit, we will be working to select a limited list of tangible and concrete business outcomes and calls for action, with clear benefits to the EU-African business and trading relationship. The outcomes, pro-actively followed-up throughout the forum, will need to be strictly limited in numbers (e.g. a maximum 10 key) but also sector/country-focused as much as possible. The list of outcomes will need to be developed through discussion between the European and African Union Commissions and EU and African businesses and will be attached to the business declaration. The calls for action will focus on those issues where businesses are calling on political leaders to act to improve or support the trade and investment climate.