Tag Archives: Jean-Claude Juncker

EU committed to Africa agri-food sector

Africa-Europe Alliance: European Commission committed to a sustainable African agri-food sector. The Task Force for Rural Africa delivered its final report, an agri-food and rural agenda for the new ‚ÄėAfrica-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs’ unveiled by President Jean-Claude Juncker in the 2018 State of the Union speech.

 

 

 

According to the recommendations of this group of African and European experts, Africa and the EU should develop a partnership operating at three levels: people to people, business to business, and government to government. It would institute a multi-stakeholder dialogue at all levels, starting locally, and enable a closer connection between African and European societies, business communities and governments.

Agriculture and rural development policy is leading the way in EU-Africa political cooperation. The Task Force Rural Africa is at the centre of this work: its recommendations explore ways to boost public and private investment, to exchange best practice and share knowledge, and to deepen policy cooperation across the board;” agriculture and rural development Commissioner Phil Hogan said.

 

 

 

 

This is a very important day for the Africa-Europe Alliance. Today we have seen the hard work of the Task Force on Rural Africa culminate in concrete recommendations. Now it is up to us to come together, take these valuable recommendations forward and devise solutions that can deliver what we all want: a positive rural transformation, and an inclusive and sustainable agriculture and agri-food sector,” International development and cooperation Commissioner Neven Mimica said.

African Union (AU) Commissioner for rural economy and agriculture Josefa Sacko said: “The Task Force report recognises the new reality of Africa and Europe as global partners on an equal footing. It demonstrates that farmers and the food industry should work hand in hand to take on the new opportunities that the African Continental Free Trade Area will offer and also, build the regional markets needed for Africa’s long term food security.”

Launched in May 2018 by the European Commission, the Task Force was set up to provide advice on strengthening the Africa-Europe partnership in food and farming. The European Commission will ensure follow-up and implementation of several actions recommended by this group of experts to support the development of African agri-food sector and rural economy.

Building on some of the short term recommendations made by the Task Force, the European Commission will start implementing the following projects:

  • Twinning and exchange programmes between African and European agricultural bodies: the Commission has just launched a Pilot Vocational Education and training initiative with Africa of ‚ā¨5 million. Additional funds from the EU budget will be made available for other twinning programmes for rural women’s organisations, farmer organisations and cooperatives, businesses and public entities with their peers.
  • AU-EU Agribusiness platform: recognising the key role the private sector can play for structural transformation in Africa, the Commission proposes to set up a platform to link European and African businesses. This platform is expected to help identify challenges and opportunities for private investment and trade between the two continents.
  • Innovation hubs: to support ‚Äėagripreneurs’ and the African agri-food sector, innovation hubs can be established or strengthened with the aim of applying practical knowledge. These hubs would bring together national research, higher education systems, farmers, their organisations and the private sector to facilitate ‚Äďamongst others- digital innovation and skills development.

The report handed over today is a landmark in the process towards more cooperation between the EU and Africa in the agri-food sector, identifying four strategic areas of action for the medium to long term: job creation, climate action, sustainable transformation of African agriculture and development of the African food industry and markets.

To make this an open and inclusive process, the Commission will launch an online consultation to gather direct feedback from African stakeholders on the Task Force’s strategic approach and on the state of play of the agri-food trade and cooperation between our two continents. Together with today’s report, the outcome of this consultation will feed into the third AU-EU agricultural ministerial conference in Rome, planned for June 2019.

Effective follow-up will also be ensured through the setting-up of an implementation group composed of ministerial and private representatives from both Africa and the EU. The group will be presented at the ministerial conference in Rome.

Africa-Europe Forum in Vienna

Vienna, Austria. At Africa-Europe Forum, hosted jointly by the Austrian Presidency of the EU, notably by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, and Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and the Chairman of the African Union for 2018, President Jean-Claude¬†Juncker¬†reiterated Europe’s ambition for a true and fair partnership among equals between Africa and Europe. President Juncker presented the first results of the¬†Africa‚ÄďEurope Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs, just three months after its launch. The Alliance aims to deepen the economic and trade relations between the two continents, in order to create sustainable jobs and growth.

‚ÄúEurope and Africa share a long history and a bright future. This is why I proposed a new Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs, to help attract both European and African investment and create 10 million jobs in Africa over the next five years. Translating words into action, we have already taken a series of measures to bring our ambitions to life”¬†¬†European Commission President Jean-Claude¬†Juncker¬†said.

The president is accompanied to the high-level Forum by vice-president Andrus Ansip, Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica, Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan and Commissioner for Digital Economy Mariya Gabriel.

The Africa-Europe Alliance, announced by president Juncker in his 2018 State of the Union Address, focuses on four key areas. Three months on, work is already well underway in each.

The¬†EU External Investment Plan¬†aims to raise significant sustainable investments in Africa and European neighbourhood countries by 2020. From the ‚ā¨44 billion announced,¬†programmes already in the pipeline¬†will mobilise¬†‚ā¨37.1 billion of investments.

New projects were announced today:

  • An EU guarantee (NASIRA Risk-Sharing Facility), the first of its kind under the EU External Investment Plan, will use worth¬†‚ā¨75 million¬†of EU funds to leverage up to¬†‚ā¨750 million of investments¬†for entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa and the EU’s southern neighbourhood. Alone this is expected to create 800,000 jobs and benefit those who usually struggle to access affordable loans, such as small and medium sized enterprises, internally displaced people, refugees, returnees, women and young people.
  • A new¬†Agri-Business Capital fund¬†worth¬†‚ā¨45 million¬†will support smallholder agriculture by increasing access to finance for individual smallholder farmers. It is expected to attract more than¬†‚ā¨200¬†million in investments¬†and benefit as many as 700,000 households in rural areas.
  • To support the¬†EU’s southern neighbourhood, a programme worth¬†‚ā¨61.1 million¬†will supportsolar power plants in¬†Morocco¬†and¬†‚ā¨46.8 million¬†will be invested in depolluting the Kitchener Drain in the Nile Delta region in Egypt.

EU towards “new partnership” with Africa

‘To speak of the future, one must speak of Africa ‚Äď Europe’s twin continent.
Africa is the future: By 2050, Africa’s population will number 2.5 billion. One in four people on earth will be African” – said Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission in his 2018 State of Union speech.

“We need to invest more in our relationship with the nations of this great and noble continent. And we have to stop seeing this relationship through the sole prism of development aid. Such an approach is beyond inadequate, humiliatingly so.
Africa does not need charity, it needs true and fair partnerships. And Europe needs this partnership just as much.
“In preparing my speech today, I spoke to my African friends, notably Paul Kagame, the Chairperson of the African Union. We agreed that donor-recipient relations are a thing of the past. We agreed that reciprocal commitments are the way forward. We want to build a new partnership with Africa.

“Today, we are proposing a new Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs between Europe and Africa. This Alliance ‚Äď as we envision it ‚Äď would help create up to 10 million jobs in Africa in the next 5 years alone. We want to create a framework that brings more private investment to Africa. We are not starting from scratch: our External Investment Plan, launched two years ago, will mobilise over ‚ā¨44 billion in both the public and private investment. Alone the projects already in the pipeline will unlock ‚ā¨24 billion.
We want to focus our investment where it matters the most. By 2020, the EU will have supported 35,000 African students and researchers with our Erasmus programme. By 2027, this figure should reach 105,000.

“Trade between Africa and Europe is not insignificant. 36% of Africa’s trade is with the European Union. This compares to 16% for China and 6% for the United States. But this is not enough. I believe we should develop the numerous European-African trade agreements into a continent-to continent free trade agreement, as an economic partnership between equals”.

#EDD2018 Development Days launch in Brussels

Today the 12th European Development Days (EDDs) bring together Europe’s and the world’s development community, under the theme ‚ÄúWomen and Girls at the Forefront of Sustainable Development: protect, empower, invest‚ÄĚ.

“There can be no sustainable development if half of the world’s population is left behind. We need equal participation and leadership of women and girls in all spheres of life ‚Äď both in Europe and in the world. This is what we will focus on during these European Development Days” –¬†said Commission President Jean-Claude¬†Juncker, who has opened the EDDs .

“The EDDs gather the development community from all corners of the globe to learn from each other and to inspire new partnerships. Only if we act together, will we manage to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, and empower them to truly be at the forefront of sustainable development”¬†Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven¬†Mimica¬†emphasised.

From the European Commission, the President Jean-Claude Juncker with EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini, First-Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, as well as Commissioners Cecilia Malmström, Neven Mimica, Christos Stylianides, Phil Hogan and Mariya Gabriel, will participate in the event.

The European Development Days will furthermore be joined by many high-level speakers and participants including: Her Majesty Mathilde, Queen of the Belgians; Her Majesty Queen Letizia of Spain; Her Royal Highness Mary, the Crown Princess of Denmark; President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca; Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg; President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani; President of Rwanda Paul Kagamé; President of Burkina Faso Roch Marc Christian Kaboré; President of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou; President of Liberia George Weah; Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Amina J. Mohammed,and many more.

 

 

EU launches ‚ā¨400 million aid programmes for Africa

African Union and European Union Commissioners adopted concrete measures to address pressing global issues in key areas such as peace and security, migration, job creation and agriculture.

This 9th Commission to Commission meeting of the two organisations was co-chaired by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, with the participation of all African Union Commissioners and 16 European Union Commissioners.

The two sides had agreed on a set of priorities at the November 2017 AU-EU Summit in Abidjan and today the two Commissions took stock of progress made to chart the way forward.

“We met today to translate words into concrete action. We launched programmes worth ‚ā¨400 million to support, amongst others, African youth ‚Äď which is all the more important, as 60% of Africa’s population is under 25 years old, –¬†European Commission President Jean-Claude¬†Juncker¬†said. ¬†“The future of the world depends on the good cooperation between Europe and Africa”.

African youth

‚ÄúMultilateralism is the only response to today’s global challenges in an increasingly polarised world. The AU-EU partnership is based on shared values and shared responsibilities and offers a unique platform to address common challenges linked to peace, security and sustainable development on both our continents‚ÄĚ –¬†African Union Chairperson Moussa¬†Faki Mahamat¬†added.

The two commissions discussed their cooperation to enhance resilience, peace, security and governance, including support to African peace initiatives such as the G5 Sahel joint force. In this regard, the two sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding reinforcing the existing cooperation in the area of peace and security. In addition, they agreed to continue and consolidate the important work made by the AU-EU-UN task force on migration.

The parties committed to invest in economies and people by stepping up existing cooperation on agriculture and agribusinesses and the digital economy, and dedicated themselves to continue the active engagement with youth in the Africa-EU partnership in innovative and meaningful ways.

In the context of the AU-EU partnership, the EU made available an additional¬†‚ā¨400 million¬†towards¬†continental and regional projects. These include support to institutional capacity building of the African Union Commission and regional integration on the continent, as well as¬†support to young people. The assistance will facilitate the continental mobility of young people, for example through reinforcing exchange programmes among African universities, and enhancing the recognition of qualifications and the harmonisation of higher education in Africa.

The EU and Africa have progressively built a solid strategic and political partnership, whereby they go beyond donor-recipient relations towards reciprocal commitments. The two Commissions of the European Union and African Union are committed to be active players and real engines of this Partnership, which is today more relevant than ever in a fast evolving global environment.

This partnership is based on shared values and interests, enshrined in the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES, 2007). At the 5th AU-EU Summit last November African and European leaders have demonstrated their mutual commitment in a stronger relationship adapted to a rapidly changing global landscape, and have identified strategic priorities for 2018-2020.

Gates contributes ‚ā¨50 million to EU-Africa projects

The Gates Foundation will contribute $50 million (‚ā¨40.9 million) in financing, as well as an additional $12.5 million (‚ā¨10.2 million) in technical assistance, to investment projects in the health sector in Africa through the EU’s framework to improve sustainable investments in Africa. This pooling of resources is designed to encourage additional private investment towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and will allow successful projects to be scaled up more rapidly. The European Commission welcomes this strong support to its efforts towards sustainable development in Africa, and will match this contribution with another ‚ā¨50 million.

The EU accounts for a third of foreign direct investment into Africa ‚Äď this is now helping create jobs and growth on both of our continents” –¬†European Commission President Jean-Claude¬†Juncker¬†said.¬†“But we must do more to improve the business environment and provide a platform for African innovators to grow. This requires the full involvement of the private and philanthropic sectors, and I am grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their much needed engagement. This is an investment in our shared future.¬†Europe’s partnership with Africa is one in which we support each other, help each other to prosper and make the world a safer, more stable and more sustainable place to live.”

¬†“Improving health outcomes allows a society to become more prosperous and productive. There has been a lot of progress in this area in sub-Saharan Africa since 2000, but we need to do more to incentivize research and innovation that benefit the poor. It is fantastic that the European Commission, in partnership with African countries, is leading the way in reducing deep-seated inequities in global health. This commitment will create opportunities that will help people lift themselves and their communities out of poverty‚ÄĚ –¬†Bill¬†Gates¬†said.

This new partnership on health follows a first joint initiative with the EU, announced on 12 December 2017 at the One Planet Summit in Paris, to support the development of tools and techniques to benefit smallholder farmers in developing countries. ¬†Through that initiative, the Commission will provide ‚ā¨270 million, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation $300 million (‚ā¨244.7 million), to finance agricultural research to help the world’s poorest farmers better adapt to increasingly challenging growing conditions brought about by climate change. France, Germany, Italy, Spain and other EU Member States will also take part in this programme.