ACP YPN at the Africa – EU Economic and Social Stakeholders’ Network

On the 3rd and 4th of July 2019, the ACP YPN Ambassadors attended the 6th meeting of the EU-Africa Economic and Social Stakeholders’ Network at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in Brussels on the topic of Investing in Africa. The EESC led the two day event by firstly enabling non-state actors to understand and exchange on institutional investments mechanics, to then examine the EESC consultative work on investment and trade and ended with a study on the impact of investment in the private, social and environmental sectors.

Participants and speakers from both continents joined in the discussion. These
representatives of networks and organisations of employers presented their projects and problems they encountered in the EU-Africa investment context.

6th Meeting EU-Africa-Group
6th Meeting EU-Africa-Group

On the first day, the EESC president, Luca Jahier started off the meeting, followed up by the introductory remarks by the president of the ACP-EU follow-up committee, Jarosław Mulewicz. The opening session on the EU-Africa investment mechanism: towards a manual for civil society organizations was then hosted by, Robert Lisinge, Chief of Energy Infrastructure and Services Section of Private Sector Development and Finance Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), representing the African continent and Torsten Ewerbeck, Deputy Head of Unit Coordination of the External Investment Bank (EIP) Secretariat and Blending Facilities, DG DEVCO and Corinne Salinas International aid – cooperation officer, EU Trust Fund for Sahel and Lake Chad, DG DEVCO, as EU representatives presented and explained their projects in Africa. On the afternoon of the same day, the topic was on investment and trade as instruments, with special focus on Africa, Mr Metzler and Wagensonner, presented the EESC work in progress.

On the second day, the focus was on the impact of investing in the private sector with Christian Elias, Head of Unit for Public Sector operations in Sub-Saharan Africa, Ousseine Diallo, Executive Secretary Fédérations des Organisations patronales d’Afrique de l’Ouest and Olivier Poujade, Director-general East Africa Gate and Founder of the EU chamber of commerce in Ethiopia. The final session held was on the impact of investing in the social and environmental sectors with Micheline Dion Sompleni, president of the Union des Coopératives de Femmes Transformatrices de poisson de Côte d’Ivoire (USCOFEP-ci), Joaquina Almeida, Secretary-General of the Union Nacional dos Trabalhadores de Cabo Verde – Central Sindical (UNTC-CS), Professor Aboubacar Awaiss, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUNC) and last but not least, Anselme Amoussou, Secretary general of the Confédération des Syndicats Autonomes du Bénin (CSA BENIN).

The two main common factors in every participant’s speech were focused on gender equality and youth inclusiveness. As the only young participants, our presence and participation in the event showed our commitment and motivation to partake and voice our opinions as ACP ambassadors in the EU-Africa investment context. In reference to the mission and vision of ACP YPN in advocacy role in inclusion of youth and Diaspora in the contribution to policy dialogue in the context of the theme of the event investing in Africa, it was clear that very little was achieved in this regard. The take away from the event was dominated by a showcase of practices ( including best practices and otherwise) as shown by participants across the region.

Firstly, in regards to the Diaspora and youth involvement in the development agenda, there was no special attention to the youth as shown by several case studies. And secondly from the modalities of investment and access to funds by the ACP stakeholders in their region. The two points are intertwined since the theme is investing in Africa. The investment funds and the trust funds as well as the criteria to access the funds in the African region is in itself a hindrance and blockage to gain access to the funds despite the huge potentials of the African market. In addition, transparency and more simple application for the funds will result in a more efficient work for both partners.

This two-day meeting ended with Jaroslaw Maculewicz presentation of the final declaration, which will be addressed to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the African Union.

This draft declaration essentially incorporates five main points, which are the following:
● The role of civil society in Africa -Eu relations
● The EU-Africa investment mechanisms
● The importance of infrastructure as a factor of progress
● The impact of investing in the private sector
● The impact of investing in the social and environmental sectors

 

By IGIHOZO Emelyne and SODADE David – Get in touch with Emelyne via Linkedin and
David via Linkedin.

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