On 12 September, at his State of the Union speech 2018, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker announced his intention to forge an "Africa-Europe Alliance for sustainable investment and jobs".
The demographic explosion in Africa is a major challenge. Indeed, Juncker stated that: "By 2050, Africa's population will number 2.5 billion. One in four people on Earth will be African".
In addition, the corruption and poor governance prevalent in some countries are also part of the problems which need to be solved on the continent. As such, there is an urgent need to provide sustainable solutions for a better common future.
This alliance will consist in strengthening intercontinental links, but also in investing and creating sustainable jobs. Juncker expressed his wish to create up to 10 million jobs in the coming 5 years, and gradually establish free trade between the two continents.
"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" declared Juncker during his speech.
Federica Mogherini, High Representative and Vice-President of the Commission, reaffirmed that Europe's and Africa's interests are aligned, and both want a stronger Africa. She added that Europe accounts for 40 percent of foreign investment in Africa, and is consequently its most important trading partner.
Africa does not need charity, it needs true and fair partnerships. And Europe needs this partnership just as much.
44 billion euros
Juncker also highlighted the external investment plan (EIP) which would see 44 billion euros mobilised for Africa by 2020. This innovative plan has been operational since September 2017 and is intended to strengthen the partnership with African countries and the neighbouring countries of the EU by supporting the private sector to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
All of these reforms will be achieved thanks to various concrete actions including strategic investment and job creation, attracting private investors, supporting education and training, encouraging trade and improving the business climate.
As a result, the alliance will offer the chance for 105,000 students to participate in the Erasmus+ programme by 2027; access to roads which can be driven on in all seasons for 24 million people; vocational training to improve the skills of 750,000 people; and finally 30 million people and businesses will benefit from access to electricity through EU investment in renewable energy and an increase in generating capacity of 5 GW.