The European Business Council for Africa

Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through EU Development Policy: a debate on the occasion of preparations for the Joint Synthesis Report

Panel 28-1-2019 speaking notes

European Business Council for Africa, the European Federation of National Associations and Chambers for Business in Africa, Alexandros Spachis, Secretary General.


As the world prepares to face new challenges – from migration to climate change and from slowing global economic growth – international cooperation as, we knew it, in the form of North-South partnership based on unilateral aid transfers and grants, has proved to be insufficient. In order to face these, including eradicating poverty and redressing inequalities, one of the main requirements is to stimulate the investment needed for real and sustainable development, estimated to be some 10 or 20 times larger than all the aid budgets of today put together.

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EBCAM is pleased to announce, that on 7 June 2018, the Trade and Development Board of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development approved the application of EBCAM for observer status with UNCTAD.

EBCAM Statement for UNCTAD               Letter of Approval from UNCTAD to EBCAM

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November, 2017

Please explain for those that are not familiar, the purposes and the action of European Business Council for Africa EBCAM since you took over the function of Secretary General.

The European Business Council for Africa-EBCAM is a European Federation (non-profit organization) promoting economic development in Africa through private sector initiatives. Headquartered in Brussels, it is located at the heart of the EU & International institutions and the hub of diplomatic community.

We are the only organization that comprehensively represents the range of business activities undertaken in Africa by European companies. We are structured and divided into a large network of 10 national African Business Associations, where we, EBCAM, act as the umbrella organisation representing the combined national interests of our members through advocacy in (and information from) the European institutions, international organisations and African diplomatic missions in Brussels. Our members are Africa-targeted business councils from European countries and they in turn have some 4000 companies on their respective membership lists. Our members are therefore only national chambers, not specific enterprises. At our Brussels based office, as well as during our business travels, we intensively promote private sector engagement in Africa on a regular basis.

I will highlight below some important aspects of the work of EBCAM:

Our organisation has been invited by the European Commission earlier in March this year to participate in the consultation on the future Partnership with ACP countries following the Cotonou agreement that will expire in 2020.

It is our opinion that the present system is not sustainable; a geographic separation of the three regions is warranted; everything should go on budget and the old system of EDF should not be perpetuated. Regarding the improvement of the business climate and economic development in Africa, we propose to: consider provisions on mutual protection of investments; recognise the public-private dialogue (PPD) as a key instrument for development and growth accelerator; encourage dispute settlement mechanisms, assist the fight against tax fraud, tax evasion and fiscal harassment; fight against corruption; give higher priority to the South-South cooperation; assist the acceleration of regional integration.

Acknowledging the role of the private sector and the respective mutual interests in the global management of public goods is important. In this context, EBCAM calls for a more structured and sustained dialogue with the European Institutions and European private sector.

On a wider perspective, rural and agricultural development should be among the priority sectors to create jobs over the short and long-term. Moreover, demographic transition and improved birth control measures should also be a priority, assisted by substantial resources. The new partnership will have to cover better security issues, which should be viewed as a global public good and cannot be financed only by the concerned countries.

To conclude, the ambitions on the “after Cotonou” should not be about improving the implementation of the present system of the expiring Agreement but about a new collaborative and sustainable partnership for the future.

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