In the framework of the 7th Africa Private Sector Forum (APSF), held in Nairobi from 3-5 December 2014, the Africa Union Commission (AUC) and the European Commission jointly organised on 4 December a second follow-up workshop of the 5th Europe-Africa Business Forum, which was held in Brussels in March 2014 back to back to the 4th Africa-EU summit.
The joint technical working session agenda consisted in three sessions:
- presentation by the African Union and the European Union on the support to private sector and the respective private sector development strategies;
- presentation of the 5th EABF recommendations to African and European Heads of State and Government as well as follow-up activities after the event by Business Africa; and
- presentations by the private sector from Africa and Europe and discussion on the possible implementation of the EABF recommendations.
The workshop has shown that many follow-up activities have been done since the 5th EABF, and has therefore stressed that efforts shall be pursued to turn the ideas and recommendations into concrete projects and actions. It also insisted on the key role of continued dialogue between the African and European private sector and calling for more room to B2B compared to B2G discussions in the future to improve investment opportunities. To address this specific need, the EU-Africa Chamber of Commerce (EACC) is planning to host an EU-Africa B2B Forum in Belgium in May 2015.
Moreover, the discussions focused on the importance to strengthen financial instruments, to revamp the financial markets and to develop regional payment systems, as well as the need to communicate better on EU private sector support programmes. It also stressed that infrastructures, energy and regulatory frameworks are key concerns for European private sectors investors when deciding whether to invest in Africa.
Considering the effectiveness of the EABF, which has proven to be a unique platform to exchange practices, identify challenges and key investment opportunities, several actors, including AUC and Business Europe, support the solution of more regular private sector meetings and a more permanent structure for the Forum, with the objective to foster engagement between European and African private sector and to ensure that the private sector's views are taken into account by the African policymakers.