In recent years, the European Union – African Union relations have been characterized by detailed planning with set goals, pillars and funding, while strongly keeping in mind the importance of businesses and investment of European capital in the African market. Yet, this is a challenging time to develop such plans and to help European and African joint businesses flourish. As the latest Friends of Europe report states:
“In many ways the geopolitical climate is now much more challenging than even ten years ago. From the impacts of the global financial and economic crisis, security issues, and the worrying rise of populism in Europe and the United States, to climate change, demographic change and pressures on the global multilateral system, both Africa and the EU face many big challenges and crises, as well as opportunities”.
To add, the extreme poverty rates still present in Africa and the predicted population increase to 2.4 billion by 2050 add up to both challenges and opportunities. There are also challenges regarding Migration and Security, which have taken up a great deal of attention of European leaders.
This adds up to concerns for European Businesses investing in Africa, of which FOE the top come up to be as risk and uncertainty connected to corruption and weak governance, too much bureaucracy, lack of transparency, weak infrastructure, inadequate skills and quality of labour. European entrepreneurs are hoping for a structural change in both policy and governance to have a more secure investment space. Such conditions would lead to the creation of jobs and the improvement of economic conditions in the African economy.
Accordingly, Friend of Europe’s study reveals as well a large interest by politicians, members of government bodies in the European Union and State Members to be in sync with this necessities. Not only most of them seem to be aware of the problem, but they also consider it to be a priority. The challenges are naturally many, but the opportunities are as well and this could provide for the conditions necessary for European businesses to invest in Africa.
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