A new initiative dubbed "Invest in Africa Now!" has been launched to contribute to achieving an important goal of the the Joint Africa-EU Strategy that foresees that “the EU-Africa Business Forum will play a key role in bringing together entrepreneurs and public and private investors from both Europe and Africa in order to discuss ways of improving the investment and business climate and to raise the profile of doing business in Africa”
. The Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) is a continental approach that gained ground with its adoption by 80 African and European Heads of States in 2007. The Africa-EU Partnership, enshrined in the JAES, embodies a new forward-looking vision for relations between Europe and Africa.
In 2014, the 4th EU-Africa Summit confirmed the commitment of both continents to the objectives set out in the 2007 Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES). However, leaders agreed that the implementation of the Joint Strategy should be further improved and that cooperation should be guided by a results-oriented approach. At the summit, leaders adopted a roadmap that calls for a more business-friendly environment, encouraging both Europe and Africa to develop better investment climates, increase technology transfer, and foster enterprises' competitiveness. The key role of the EU-Africa Business Forum was mentioned to this end.
Against this background, the new initiative will provide the EU-Africa Business Forum with a support structure to ensure its effectiveness and sustainability. It builds on the success of the 5th EU-Africa Business Forum, which was held on March 31st and April 1st, 2014 in Brussels. Since its inception in 2006, the forum has contributed to dialogue between the private sector from Europe and Africa, the European Union and the African Union. However, its impact has been constrained by the lack of a secretariat, lack of follow up, and the absence of an active community of backers.
The European Commission has repeatedly indicated its backing to the EU-Africa Business Forum, but various attempts to establish a permanent secretariat to the forum have failed mainly because of the inability of the private sector to take the lead and dominance of a couple of companies driving the forum. The success of the last event has demonstrated that it is possible to make the forum more relevant, to rally private businesses and their representative organisations from a large spectrum of the private sector, and to attract attract political and business figureheads.
Against this background, Invest in Africa Now! endeavours to give the forum the means to fulfill its mandate and ultimately achieve increased sustainable investments in Africa by European investors. For this, key partners and sponsors are being lined up. Consistently with its main objective, Invest in Africa Now! will serve a private investment promotion agency for Africa and will provide ancillary and investment promotion services besides running the forum. Invest in Africa Africa! thus offers a number of services
to European and African investors and promoters, as well as diverse investment and partnership opportunities. Our services are tailored to the specific needs of our partners and clients. Also, generic activities are offered, such as the organisation of conferences, investment missions and provision of information.
Invest in Africa Now! works through the establishment of partnerships with relevant global, regional and national entities to promote investment and dialogue between Europe and Africa. Our partners are mainly the regional investment promotion agencies (RIAs) and the regional chambers of commerce (RCCs), but also other selected private sector organisations. A significant number of private sector organisations, mainly regional ones from across Africa and Europe, are partnering with Invest in Africa Now! to advance the implementation of its activities and objectives. The list of partners is on the rise. Such partnerships are instrumental notably for the effective organisation of the EU-Africa Business Forum and throw a heavy weight behind the initiative.
Also, the number of sponsors is growing. Bakers of Invest in Africa Now! are mainly leaders of private businesses from across Europe and Africa. Some of our backers contribute financially to projects in Africa through our crowd funding page