Tag Archives: Paul Kagame

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–Europe 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.

“Europe 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 €44 billion announced, programmes already in the pipeline will mobilise €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 €75 million of EU funds to leverage up to €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 €45 million will support smallholder agriculture by increasing access to finance for individual smallholder farmers. It is expected to attract more than €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 €61.1 million will supportsolar power plants in Morocco and €46.8 million will be invested in depolluting the Kitchener Drain in the Nile Delta region in Egypt.

Africa’ $3 trillion free-trade zone

African leaders agreed to form a $3 trillion continental free-trade zone encompassing 1.2 billion people, but its two biggest economies, Nigeria and South Africa, declined to join.

The African Union launched talks in 2015 to establish a 55-nation bloc that would be the biggest in the world by number of participating states, aiming to increase intra-regional trade, which constitutes 15% of Africa’s total commerce.

Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda, host of an AU summit called to conclude the initial negotiations, declared a success after 44 African nations signed up to establish the free trade bloc within 18 months. It were no explanations of South Africa and Nigeria decision to restrain from joining the project. However South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa said he is reflecting upon creating of pan-African currency.

The project needed a minimum of 22 countries signing up to get off the ground and Kagame said the aim number of members is reached. Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, Burundi, Eritrea, Benin, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau declared as participants of the free-trade zone.

“What is at stake is the dignity and well-being of Africa’s farmers, workers and entrepreneurs,” Kagame declared.