The European Business Council for Africa

EBCAM POSITION PAPER

EBCAM Position Paper on EU Human Rights Due Diligence Legislation for companies

Beussels, 06 August 2021

Earlier this year, the European Parliament adopted a proposal made by the European Commission on a binding draft EU Human Rights Due Diligence Legislation where companies have to prove that their international supply chains respect due diligence obligations (human rights, environment and good governance).


The European Business Council for Africa (EBCAM) fully agrees that human rights and environmental violations need to be tackled. Nevertheless, we note that this law might cause opposite effects from those intended for and will harm the sustainable development of local economies in the African continent. We would like to highlight that:

  • it is quite impossible for EU companies to guarantee “zero risk” on their supply chains in Africa,
  • European medium-sized enterprises and large companies will deliberate even more carefully about
    whether they can engage in African countries,
  • especially the issues of the informality in the agricultural and agri-food sectors and the deforestation need
    to be taken into account.

OPINION

The European Union has to assert its role as Africa’s leading partner

 

Patrick SEVAISTRE: Special Advisor EBCAM (European Business Council for Africa)/ CIAN (Conseil français des investisseurs en Afrique)

* The opinions and views expressed in this publication are those of the author.

 

Brussels, 08 July 2021

 

In March 2021, the members of the European Parliament approved the new EU-Africa strategy, adopted a year earlier by the European Commission and the EU High Representative as a joint communication. The stated objective for Europe is to establish a new relationship from continent-to-continent that leaves behind the donor-recipient model, to empower African nations to achieve the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), to ensure a successful  green transition, to accompany and support Africa’s vision and ambitions for a continental free trade area.

One of the few achievements of this new partnership strategy today is the renewal of the EU-ACP partnership under a post-Cotonou Treaty agreement.  At the moment, this renewed Cotonou Treaty is the only legal framework governing trade between Africa and Europe. The need for a framework agreement between the European and the African continent has never been stronger than in the post-Covid context. 

EBCAM POSITION PAPER

 

COVID-19: The public-private sector partnership is the key to a successful strategy for Africa

 

Brussels, 02 June 2021

 

A year after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health impact on the African continent is less severe than expected. The African resilience is due to its young population that is less at risk compared to other continents, its low urban concentration that limits the circulation of the virus and above all the experience in managing epidemics. A deficient tracing system and a lack of causes of death have to be mentioned, too.

However, these relative “advantages” in dealing with the pandemic have not spared Africa economically and socially as it has been facing a more deadly second wave since the end of 2020. This results in a collapse in the price and demand for raw materials, together with a fall of the African GDP by 2.6% in 2020.

The exit from the economic crisis will be slower in Africa as most countries do not have the same means European countries have. 

EBCAM concerns about African continent’s access to vaccines: the delay in the deployment of national COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in Africa has revived the debate on relocation to Europe or the installation of industrial capacities to manufacture tests, vaccines and drugs in the African continent. The COVAX initiative is expected to cover only 20% of the African population with COVID-19 vaccines.

EBCAM POSITION PAPER

 

EBCAM POSITION PAPER ON NEW EU TRADE STRATEGY

Brussels, 30 April 2021

The European Business Council for Africa and the Mediterranean (EBCAM) welcomes the new Trade Strategy communicated by the European Commission and agrees with the need for open, rules-based trade to restore growth and job creation post COVID-19 as well as the increased focus on Africa. Equally important is the emphasis on a green and digital transformation of the economy.

As representatives of the European entreprises that are actively engaged in Africa, we encourage the EU policymakers to ensure continuous and unlimited access to key resources – raw materials, goods, services, investments. EBCAM believes that more should be done to address the issue of injurious subsidization of enterprises from other states that allow their entities not to abide by international standards, as for example happens with China, Russia, Turkey and other countries.


For EBCAM members and their African private sector partners, the AfCFTA is an important step forward towards the creation of regional supply chains, which have been important drivers of economic transformation in many countries.

 

 EBCAM Position

29 January 2021 

The European Commission introduced in July 2020 the initiative that aims to improve the EU regulatory framework on company law and corporate governance to enable companies to focus on long-term sustainable value creation rather than short-term benefits. In response to this initiative and the call for public consultation, the European Business Council for Africa (EBCAM) presents its contribution on aspects of EU laws and policies against the backdrop of the pandemic. 

EBCAM-AAAM Position Paper

The automotive industry in Africa: domestic production for local job creation and safe, climate-friendly mobility

Summary

 

The mobility-automotive sector has great potential to become a key driver of, industrialization, economic growth and more local employment on the African continent. For mobility solutions, Africa has a major growth potential when you consider the young, growing population and rapid urbanisation across the continent. At the same time, the growth in demand for new vehicles in Africa can secure European jobs while providing investment opportunities and jobs on the African continent. The vision of a large-scale sustainable automotive production on the African continent can become reality – if institutions and enterprises work together for the same objectives.

It is in the African and European interest that Africa's streets are no longer filled by outdated, unsafe and old cars. Instead, modern, ecologically and economically viable mobility needs to be made available for African markets.

With the aim to present the job-creating and job-preserving potential of the automotive industry in Africa to you, the European Business Council for Africa (EBCAM) jointly with the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers (AAAM) has prepared a white paper, in which we outline a number of actions and ideas:

1. a more intensive support of the “Pan-African Auto Pact” for regional market integration;

2. the targeted promotion of green technologies and sustainable mobility, and the establishment of African countries as procurement partners through the relocation of production steps along the value chain. 

EBCAM Declaration

Declaration on the Future of the EU-Africa Relations ( A Private Sector Perspective)

 

Summary

 

The postponement of the 6th AU-EU Political Summit and the 7th EU-Africa Business Forum that were scheduled to take place in Brussels in October 2020 are some of the consequences of the pandemic on the dynamics of the partnership.

The European Business Council for Africa (EBCAM) recently highlighted the urgent need to fix new dates for the two events with a letter to the European External Action Service and the European Commission. We welcome the conclusions of the European Council Summit of 15-16 October regarding the commitment to address the impacts of the COVID-19 on the African countries by furthering international debt relief efforts and by working its African partners on specific areas (digital and knowledge economy, green transition, mobility, renewable energy, health and agri-food systems).

Interview of EBCAM's President, Etienne Giros, in the French Newspaper L'Opinion on the progress of the post-Cotonou negociations between EU and the ACP countries.

The COVID-19 is quickly spreading throughout Africa. After Asia and Europe, it will wash over Africa in the next few weeks. While focusing on its own management of the crisis, Europe should not neglect the consequences that the spread of the virus could have South of the Mediterranean Sea.  

African countries will have a hard time fighting the virus: whether with screening tests, confinement or respiratory assistance, African countries are poorly equipped to deploy these measures. Under-trained, and lacking equipment, they also have to deal with a highly dense population along with weak states, among which some are incapable of controlling their whole territory...

EBCAM Position Paper

Summary

European companies and Chinese companies in Africa : adversaries or partners ?

Or how compliance can lead to unfair competition

 

There is no denying that China plays a forever increasing role in Africa’s trade with rising numbers of Chinese companies investing on the continent. From an African perspective, the presence of a new economic partner such as China can be seen as an advantage in many respects. While there is no need to idealize or demonize the presence of Chinese companies in Africa, it is nonetheless important to point out China’s unfair competition practices which not only pose a threat to European companies but can also unbalance Sino-African relations. It has therefore become necessary, for the sake of European companies and the well-being of Africa’s emerging States, that China complies with internationally accepted good practices including OECD compliance rules. As the representative of 4,000 European companies, EBCAM calls on the EU to pursue its dialogue with China to ensure a level playing field for these companies and truly benefit Africa’s development.