The European Business Council for Africa


On Friday the 26th of November the African Union Commission for Trade and Industry and the European Commission for International Partnerships hosted an online High Level Launch Event for the EABF22 – the 7th EU-Africa Business Forum. The EABF22 will take place in a hybrid format in Brussels on the 16th and 17th of February 2022, back-to-back with the EU-Africa Summit which is to be held on the 17th and 18th of February, also in Brussels. The meeting was moderated by Ms. Tamsin Rose, a Senior Fellow at the Africa-Europe Foundation, and the introductory presentation was made by H.E. Albert Muchanga, African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry.

Mr. Etienne Giros, the President of the European Business Council for Africa was invited as a speaker to give valuable insights into the role of European investment on the African continent. Drawing attention to the over €100 billion in turnover generated in Africa by the 5000 companies represented by EBCAM’s member associations, he encouraged attendance at the EABF22 as it presents an invaluable networking opportunity, a great occasion to hear business leaders and experts and, finally, a chance to obtain answers to substantial questions such as the EU financing system.

Other speakers included Mr. Koen Doens, Director General for International Partnerships at the European Commission, who talked about substantial funding (€140 billion in grant funding over twenty years) which is to be mobilised in order to help de-risk investments and help small African businesses access financing. He also remarked upon the importance of partnerships in achieving economic goals.

Dr. Amany Asfour, President of the African Business Council, reiterated the importance of cooperation in the forms of deals, Memoranda of Understanding and working groups. She talked about the need to attract European Venture Capital to invest in the African economy in sectors such as healthcare in order to achieve a borderless, competitive and innovative African Union. With a population of 1.3 billion – overwhelmingly young – the continent represents an exciting economic opportunity to have an impactful effect on these people.

Ms. Luisa Santos, Deputy Director General of Business Europe, emphasised the need for a strong private sector in Africa, the African Free Trade Agreement being a step in the right direction. The implementation by the European Commission of the connectivity grand strategy ‘Global Gateway’ will ease the involvement of European businesses in African growth. There is a real need for an attractive legal framework to not only incentivise but also to retain investments - infrastructure and strategic corridors being key sectors. She also talked about the importance of following international standards and having strong involvement in local issues.

A closing presentation on the preparation of EABF22 and the opportunities available for potential partners was made by Cécile Billaux, Head of Unit at the General Directorate for International Partnerships at the European Commission.