The 61st Conference of the European Trade Promotion Organisations on "Connecting Europe with Africa: promoting economic collaboration and dialogue", was hosted in Athens by Enterprise Greece (Hellenic Investment and Foreign Trade Company), on 21-22 October 2021.
The hybrid conference was attended by senior and top executives of European Export Promotion Organisations, representatives of Directorates General of the European Commission and international organisations such as the UN and OECD, as well as senior executives of European and African companies in the energy and high-tech sectors.
EBCAM's Secreatery General Mr. Spachis presented European private sector's perspectives, needs and concerns towards a sustainable development of the African continent. He made also valuable recommendations on a dynamic public-private partnership which can succesfully prevent unethical competition by non-western players in Africa. In the same panel, called "EU international cooperation and development", Mr. Mousouris, the President of the Hellenic-African Chamber of Commerce and Development (member of EBCAM), presented the perspective of the Greek companies that invest in Africa.
The Conference was opened by the CEO of Enterprise Greece, Mr. George Filiopoulos, who in his opening speech referred to the important role that European Export Promotion Organisations are called upon to play in the current context, especially after the international pandemic crisis. "Greece is more ready than ever to play an active role in the extroversion of Greek businesses in Africa. The fact that a Greek Embassy in Senegal has recently been established under the New Extroversion Plan gives the impetus to Greek businessmen to launch new business missions in North and Sub-Saharan Africa".
It is worth noting that the 61st Hybrid Conference of European Export Promotion Organisations coincided with the European Commission's broader Sub-Saharan Africa outreach policy of the European Commission to develop synergies between European Union Member States and African countries on issues of mutual interest. It aimed to contribute to the development of a broader policy dialogue in view of the upcoming European Union-African Union Summit in February 2022, focusing on issues such as:
- The dual ecological and digital transition
- Financial instruments
- Mobilising the private sector
- Sustainable development
In the wake of the global economic crisis brought on by the pandemic, trade is set to become a key driver of economic growth. Africa, with its fast-growing regions, represents an opportunity for many European companies to develop profitability. This is why the role of the European Export Promotion Organisations is important, as they are called upon to actively support the outward-looking efforts of European exporting companies and to make a difference.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) opens the field in this direction and is historically the largest free trade agreement at global level.
The prospects and development potential for Africa offer new opportunities for Europe, notably in the areas of sustainable development, green energy and digital convergence, while the long-term strategy foresees closer project cooperation between the public and private sectors.
Enterprise Greece (Hellenic Investment and Foreign Trade Company S.A.) is the national body responsible, under the supervision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for attracting investment in Greece and promoting exports, with the aim of promoting the country as an attractive investment destination and promoting Greece's competitive export products and services.