EURACTIV invited Emma Marcegaglia, President of BusinessEurope, Jacqueline Mugo, Secretary General of Business Africa, Pierre Gattaz, President of Medef, the largest employer federation of France, and Klaus Rudischhauser, EU Commission Deputy Director-General for International Cooperation and Development, to discuss the role of public-private partnerships in development.
“In this moment, when part of the world will go back to protectionism, Europe must stay open and play a leadership role in open trade and access to markets. A stronger link between Europe and Africa could be a good solution. Africa is a vibrant continent. The role of the private sector is very important, but also we may need an investment plan from the European Union.
The only way to have long-term jobs is by making sure companies invest in Africa, including local companies, with long-term views and with good regulations. We can do it.”
“We have to look at Africa, as opposed to a continent that gets aid. The oil sector, the energy sector, the ICT sector have great potential to grow jobs on the continent. But Africa remains an agricultural continent. We cannot talk about development in Africa without investing in agriculture, to feed the continent and perhaps stem the migration coming into the EU. Sixty percent of the arable land in the world is in Africa. It has potential to feed the world.
We need to change the landscape in a way that adds value to the EU and adds value to Africa. The private sector is the creator of jobs. It can only create jobs if it is strengthened to perform in an environment that is not over-regulated.”
“The African continent is a tremendous continent. It’s a huge potential, but also huge problems to solve. When I travel to Africa, the people, but also ministers, presidents, tell me France has a role to play, also because 40 percent of Africans speak French. But more than that, they tell me to create jobs. Jobs for stability and security. This is the most important thing.
To do that, European companies need less crazy regulation, less bureaucracy, less taxes. This could also help us avoid another Brexit in the future.”
“For many years we have said that reducing poverty in Africa cannot be done only with official development assistance, we must bring the private sector on board. It’s easy said, it’s not as easy done.
Our analysis that European companies, especially small companies, don’t easily go to Africa. As development actors, we have the task to facilitate business going in Africa. We can help countries set up one-stop shops for investors, we can help them set up inspectors for job security or factory safety. We can help them set the tax systems right. The new External Investment Plan will provide guarantees for the private sector.”