The European Business Council for Africa

On 9 September, the African Development Bank Group, Green Growth Knowledge Platform, and other partners will launch a new initiative on integrating natural capital into development finance in Africa.  

This initiative, called the Natural Capital for African Development Finance Programme NC4-ADF, is supported by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through its dedicated agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the MAVA Foundation, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Economics for Nature (E4N) partnership, with the goal of giving a central economic role to natural capital.

Nigeria’s Federal and State governments have expressed overwhelming support for an initiative to create Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) - public-private partnerships aimed at developing priority value chains through developing infrastructure in rural areas, focused on finishing and transforming raw materials and commodities.

At a high-level briefing session held on Monday, Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning Dr. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, who hosted the meeting, reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to put in place enabling policies and incentives to attract private sector investment in the Zones, to ensure successful implementation.

South Sudan has begun producing oxygen following the successful installation of the country’s first oxygen plant at Juba Teaching Hospital, set up with funding from the African Development Fund.

The oxygen plant was procured as part of measures to support the country’s ongoing Covid-19 response with a grant from the African Development Bank Group’s concessional lending arm. The project was implemented by the World Health Organization (WHO) on behalf of the government.

In June and July of this year, an African Development Bank technical review committee approved eight project proposals to receive funding in an important milestone for its Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy. Approved proposals will receive grant funding of more than $7.3 million to operationalize their activities, creating several new enterprises and an estimated 20,000 jobs for youth across the continent.

Several of the approved proposals were submitted in response to a call from the Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development Department (AHHD) through the Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund late last year. Bank offices, complexes and departments from across regional member countries submitted nearly 24 proposals for committee review. 

Themes submitted included capacity building for entrepreneurs, climate change, gender, affordable housing, food security, migration and textiles, with the common thread of creating decent jobs for young women and men.

In one year, the pandemic has halted a quarter-century of steady economic growth in Africa, disrupted value chains, and caused an unprecedented increase in inequality and poverty. As a result, the entire world is at risk, because the global economy could lose one of its future drivers of growth.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that we can no longer treat seemingly faraway crises as distant problems. What happens anywhere can affect people everywhere. That is why addressing the impact and legacy of the pandemic in Africa is so important.

Although Africa has suffered fewer COVID-19 cases and deaths than other areas of the world, the pandemic’s impact on the continent could be more sustained, deep-rooted, and destabilizing for the entire planet. In one year, the pandemic has halted a quarter-century of steady economic growth, disrupted value chains, and caused an unprecedented increase in inequality and poverty.

Entrepreneurs and businesses most impacted by economic, health and social challenges triggered by COVID-19 will be able to benefit from a new EUR 100 million private sector financing initiative backed by (OeEB), the Development Bank of Austria, and the European Investment Bank.

The programme will enhance access to long-term financing across sub-Saharan Africa, help to create thousands of jobs and accelerate sustainable development and poverty reduction. The first joint business financing supported by the two institutions will provide both direct loans to companies in Africa and financing managed by local banks.

“This first cooperation between the Development Bank of Austria and the European Investment Bank will provide timely support for private sector investment across Africa and strengthen sustainable development during challenging times. The project is an example of how European and national institutions can work together efficiently to achieve development goals in Africa, to address the consequences of the pandemic and to create thousands of jobs. Economic development in the African continent also helps Austrian exports in the long term.” said Gernot Blümel, Federal Minister of Finance of the Republic of Austria and Governor of the European Investment Bank.

The Council today approved conclusions affirming the EU's commitment to give new impetus to its partnership with the Horn of Africa, and establishing a new strategy for the region.

geo-strategic priority for the EU in Africa, the Horn of Africa region has undergone unprecedented developments over the last years and is now at a crossroads.

With this new strategy, EU’s intention is to further strengthen and deepen its strategic relationship and partnership with the Horn of Africa and its countries, notably with a view to reduce instability, promote democracy and sustainable growth.

Context

On 15 February 2021, the World Health Organization listed the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine for both emergency use and distribution via the COVAX facility. The African Regulatory Taskforce subsequently endorsed the WHO emergency use listing for this vaccine and the first shipments to Africa were initiated from the COVAX facility, with Ghana receiving the first consignment.
On 10 March 2021, the European Medicines Agency announced that four European countries suspended the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine (batch no. ABV5300) following reports of blood clots and bleeding disorders from Austria.
Similar events were reported by additional European members states during this time and by 15 March 2021, six countries suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine (batch no. ABV5300), 11 countries paused their AstraZeneca vaccination campaigns entirely regardless of batch, while three countries indicated that they will continue use of the vaccine.

The European Union has approved additional funds for a project supporting the African nation’s quest to diversify exports and reduce its dependency on oil for economic growth.

UNCTAD’s work in Angola has received a €780,000 (about $950,000) boost from the European Union.

The money, provided through the EU-funded Train For Trade II programme for Angola, will strengthen the organization’s work to help the country build the productive capacities necessary to diversify its economy.

Oil accounted for about 33% of the African nations’ GDP and 93% of its exports in 2019.

“Productive capacities are the engine of sustainable economic growth and the key to transforming Angola’s economy,” said Paul Akiwumi, UNCTAD’s director for Africa and least developed countries.

In February 2020, the first case of COVID-19 was reported in sub-Saharan Africa. Simultaneously with the spread of the disease, African countries were being affected by disruptions of global supply chains of critical goods, such as food and medical supplies. The pandemic resulted in a sharp contraction of trade worldwide, with severe knock-on effects in sub-Saharan Africa on economic growth, poverty and food insecurity.

A recent study projects that COVID-19 will result in persistent shifts in African trade patterns by 2030. African countries are expected to trade more with China and less with Europe, the United States (US) and India.

The study was conducted by an international research consortium comprising the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures, Institute for Security Studies (ISS), and Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS). It uses scenarios to quantify the effect of COVID-19 on bilateral trade patterns for 10 African countries – Angola, Cabo Verde, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mauritius, Nigeria and South Africa.