The European Business Council for Africa

The European Union's relations with the African continent face particular challenges. Unexpectedly, the negotiations between the partners are now being put through a special rehearsal. The global spread of COVID-19 has led to economic crises in Europe, China and the USA, as well as on the African continent. This economic crisis also affects the EU's external trade relations with Africa. The EU-African Union Summit, scheduled for October 2020, will be overshadowed by the global coronavirus crisis. Both EU and African institutions consider the economic and health crisis to be more serious than the 2008/2009 financial crisis. The consequences of the crisis for the African continent are so far-reaching that cooperation between Africa and the EU must also be readjusted.

The upcoming 2020 presidential election in the Central African Republic (CAR) has the potential to derail the implementation of the 2019 Khartoum Peace Agreement and bring about a return to widespread conflict. This calls for immediate and collaborative action to be taken by those national, regional, and international actors working for peace in the country. This policy brief aims to outline some of the key risks posed by the upcoming elections and provide recommendations to mitigate their potential to negatively impact on ongoing peace and reconciliation efforts.

Calls for a new Marshall Plan reverberate across Europe today. From Spain’s Pedro Sanchez to the European Commission’s Ursula von der Leyen, leaders are urging Europeans to tackle the COVID-19 crisis with a bold new joint initiative.

FDI flows are expected to fall by more than 30% in 2020 even under the most optimistic scenario for the success ofthe public health and economic support policy measures taken by governments to address the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting recession.FDI flows to developing countries are expected to drop even more because sectors that have been severely impacted by the pandemic, including the primary and manufacturing sectors, account for a larger share of their FDI than in developed economies.FDI could play an important role in supporting economies during and after the crisis through financial support to their affiliates, assisting governments in addressing the pandemic, and through linkages with local firms. FDI flows have steadily declined over the past five years, and they could remain below pre-crisis levels throughout 2021 if the public health measures and economic support policies are not effective.

The unprecedented health and economic crisis developing countries are facing will aggravate existing development challenges. While governments have started to respond, their capacity is tightly constrained. OECD governments and the broader international community need to unlock ambitious support, to prevent the loss of lives, contain the risk of aftershocks, and invest in sustainable recovery. The international response to the COVID-19 should be unprecedented in terms of resources mobilised, scopeand ambition. It should lead to a new development model that is conducive to resilience and sustainability.Developing countries and development co-operation:What is at stake?

Although the number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities might still appear comparatively lowin Africa than in other world regions,the looming health shock of COVID-19 could have disastrous impacts on the continent’salready strained health systems,and couldquickly turn into a social and economic emergency. Beyond health risks, the COVID-19 shock to African economiesiscoming in three waves: (i) lower trade and investment from Chinain the immediate term;(ii) a demand slump associated with the lockdowns in the European Unionand OECD countries; and (iii) a continental supply shock affecting domestic and intra-African trade.

The European Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy today proposed the basis for a new strategy with Africa. The communication sets out proposals to intensify cooperation through partnerships in five key areas: green transition; digital transformation; sustainable growth and jobs; peace and governance; and migration and mobility. Based on this document, Europe will engage discussions with African partners towards a new joint strategy to be endorsed at the European Union – African Union Summit in October 2020.

On the occasion of the 7th Global Aid for Trade Review at the WTO in Geneva, from 3 to 5 July 2019, the EU is pleased to launch its EU Aid for Trade Progress Report 2019 as a contribution to the Aid for Trade initiative and as an illustration of EU support to partner countries’ trade and productive capacities.

Overall, the EU Aid for Trade Progress Report 2019 reflects the increased prominence of Aid for Trade in the development policies of the EU and its Member States, and the prioritisation of a stronger coherence between their development, trade and investment instruments with a view to improve the economic, job creation and sustainability impacts.

Read the full report here

When Member States of the United Nations approved the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, they agreed that the Sustainable Development Goals and Targets should be met for all nations and peoples and for all segments of society. Governments and stakeholders negotiating the 2030 Agenda backed the ambition of leaving no one behind, an ambition increasingly referred to in development policies, international agendas and civil society advocacy. How can we transform this ambition into reality? Policy makers, civil society and business are asking for more clarity on how to ensure that no one is left behind in practice. What does it mean for the design and delivery of economic, social and environmental policies? How should development co-operation policies, programming and accountability adapt? What should governments, development partners and the international community do differently to ensure that sustainable development goals benefit everyone and the furthest behind first?   The 2018 Development Co-operation Report: Joining Forces to Leave No One Behind addresses all of these questions and many more. Informed by the latest evidence on what it means to be left behind, it adopts a wide range of perspectives and draws lessons from policies, practices and partnerships that work. The report proposes a holistic and innovative framework to shape and guide development co-operation policies and tools that are fit for the purpose of leaving no one behind.

The DCR 2018 Highlights

DCR Full Report


The Emerging Markets Network (EMnet) is the OECD Development Centre’s business platform for dialogue and analysis of policy challenges, economic trends and business strategies between high-level officials, top executives from multinational corporations  and OECD experts, focused on the emerging markets.

EMnet events are closed to the public and operate under Chatham House rule in order to trigger outspoken discussions, and share experiences on how companies and policy makers adapt their strategies to emerging markets issues.

EMnet connects the private sector to the OECD and offers access to the Organisation’s extensive expertise, analysis and data on sectors and geographies of interest to you. To learn more about the Network, we  invite you to attend our upcoming meetings on Africa, Asia and Latin America as well as our thematic Working Groups. We welcome the participation of new members and can tailor opportunities for collaboration to your organisational and strategic needs.

More about EMnet

OECD EMnet business meeting on Africa “Infrastructure and Regional Connectivity”