15th November 2023 13:00 – 14:30
Boosting europe africa connectivity for sustainable developement
As we embark on the path towards a more sustainable, inclusive, and interconnected world, the imperative need for robust connectivity between regions has never been more evident. In an era of rapid globalisation and the pursuit of sustainable development, creating solid links between the EU and Africa is not merely a strategic choice but a moral imperative. The shared challenges of climate change, economic development, security, and global health crises demand a united and proactive approach.
With a special focus on the private sector, this edition of the New Africa Business Development Forum (NABDF) aims to provide a platform for business and economic cooperation. NABDF celebrates its 20th anniversary: 20 years at the service of a better integrated and more prosperous Africa. Over the years, the event has brought together representatives of ministries and members of the world of business and politics, who all share the conviction of the economic development of the continent.
This 20th edition of the NABDF comes at a pivotal moment, as both the EU and African nations recognize the necessity of collaboration to address common challenges and seize opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of reliable supply chains, efficient transportation of essential goods, and digital connectivity for remote work, education, and healthcare. In parallel, the climate crisis makes the transition to a zero-carbon economy more urgent than ever. Enhancing connectivity through transport, energy, and digital infrastructure would help achieve critical progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
Recent developments are providing the necessary potential to achieve a greater connectivity between Europe and Africa. The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a decisive step towards a more integrated Africa and provides opportunities for international businesses. Concurrently, the EU has launched its Global Gateway initiative that places Africa at the centre of its efforts to promote investment in connectivity links around the world with a package of EUR 150 billion for the continent.
In this context, the Mediterranean region will naturally play the role of bridge between Europe and Africa. Northern African countries which have enjoyed a special relationship with the EU, are increasingly looking south with the aim to develop strategic corridors with Sub-Saharan Africa, a region with tremendous potential of economic development. They can not only emerge as Europe’s hub for nearshoring but connect Sub-Saharan Africa to Europe for greater and shared economic and development benefits.
Roger Albinyana, Managing Director, European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed)
- Speakers invited
- Talk 1: Transport Connectivity
- Talk 2: Energy Connectivity
- Talk 3: Digital Infrastructure
Member of the Executive Board
Founder & Director
EESC Euromed Follow-Up Committee President &
EESC Rapporteur REX/527 EU and AfricaEESC Euromed Follow-Up Committee President
International Expert in Economic Development
Examining the state of transportation networks and logistics that link Europe and Africa, we will delve into the potential of maritime, road, and rail infrastructure for boosting trade, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges. We will emphasize the significance of inclusive, environmentally conscious transportation solutions and explore how investment, both public and private, can drive these initiatives forward.
- What are the key transport infrastructure needs for an efficient and sustainable transport connectivity between Europe, the Mediterranean and Africa?
- How can Mediterranean countries transform into transport connectivity hubs between Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa?
- What role can regional and international organisations play in facilitating cross-continental transportation projects and ensuring their sustainability and effectiveness? What role for the private sector?
- What is the role of digital technologies, such as IoT and data analytics, in enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of maritime, road, and rail transportation networks linking Europe and Africa?
Ali Tounsi, Secretary General, Airports Council International (ACI) Africa
Mondher Khanfir, Vice President, Tunisia Africa Business Council (TABC)
Assessing energy needs and resources on both sides of the Mediterranean, the panel will discuss cross-border energy projects, renewable energy opportunities, and mechanisms for enhancing energy security and sustainability. Recognizing the importance of sustainable energy in achieving development goals, we will consider regulatory frameworks and international collaboration as essential enablers.
- How can countries in both Europe and Africa leverage their unique energy resources and needs to create a mutually beneficial energy partnership?
- What is the key energy infrastructure needed for more energy connectivity between Europe, the Mediterranean and Africa?
- What are the challenges to tackle in terms of infrastructure gaps, regulatory disparities, and environmental considerations?
- How can the private sector be at the centre of the efforts towards enhanced energy connectivity between Europe and Africa?
Rim Berahab, Senior Economist, Policy Center for the New South (PCNS)
Chigozie Nweke-Eze, CEO, Integrated Africa Power (IAP)
In an increasingly digital world, the digital divide is a critical issue. The talk will address the challenges and opportunities of bridging this gap through improved connectivity. We will explore how digitalisation can drive economic development, education, and innovation, and discuss cross-border data sharing, e-commerce, and digital innovation. Additionally, we will emphasize the importance of robust cybersecurity measures and international cooperation to safeguard digital connections.
- What role does digital innovation play in boosting trade and business development across the continents?
- What investment is needed and where in order to boost the digital infrastructure between Europe and Africa?
- What specific initiatives or policies can be implemented to accelerate the digital economy in the Mediterranean across Europe and Africa, particularly in underserved regions?
- How can cross-border data sharing and international cooperation be encouraged to enable the free flow of data while ensuring data privacy and security?
- What role does the fintech industry play in helping the economic development of the African continent?
- How could the fintech industry be efficiently harnessed to promote developments in other crucial sectors across Africa such as healthcare or agriculture?
Amira Kaddour, Member of the executive board, African Women in FinTech & Payments (AWFP)
Pauline Koelbl, Founder and Director, AfriProspect GmbH and SHEquity