International: As part of President Juncker’s State of the Union proposals earlier this week the European Commission announced a new ‘Africa – Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs’. The package builds on the commitments taken during the African Union – European Union Summit of last year in Abidjan where the two continents agreed to strengthen their partnership. The Alliance will lead to the creation of up to 10 million jobs in Africa in the next 5 years alone.
In her opening remarks at today’s press conference High Representative / Vice-President Federica Mogherini stressed: “You might remember that when we started our mandate four years ago, we said that it was not enough, it was not good anymore, to work just for Africa but that we wanted to shift the paradigm and start working with Africa. In these last four years we have been building step by step a different kind of partnership with Africa – a partnership of equals – with the continent that is the closest one to Europe, only 14 kilometres away from our coasts”.
What happens in Africa matters in Europe and vice versa.
The European Union is Africa’s closest neighbour and biggest investor. The EU’s Member States held an investment stock of €291 billion in 2016. And the External Investment Plan mobilises significant investment, underway to leverage up to €44 billion of investment by 2020.
The EU is also Africa’s main trading partner, accounting for 36% of Africa’s trade in goods, worth €243.5 billion and the EU remains the world’s most open market to African exports.