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EU-Africa Business Summit 2007
7th December 2007
Lisbon International Fair - Meeting Centre
The EU-Africa Business Summit 2007 was held in Lisbon, Portugal, on the occasion of the 2nd EU/Africa political Summit, in the framework of the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union.

The Business Summit brought together African and European business leaders, aiming to reinforce the economic dimension of the relationship between Africa and the EU and to urge the political leaders to pursue a structured political dialogue. Building on the ACCRA conclusions, the EU-Africa Business Summit aimed the reinforcement of the private sector's commitment to work with the African and the European Unions to strengthen Africa's economic Development, with special focus on trade and Investment, Resource development and Infrastructure.

The EU-Africa Business Summit constituted therefore a prime moment to lend a new drive to the relations with the African continent, and included the debate on the regional Economic Partnership Agreements as an instrument to promote effective integration of these countries into the regional and global economy. Both African and European business leaders discussed, furthermore, issues such as Trade, Investment and Resource Development and Infrastructure in Parallel Thematic CEO's Round Tables.

During Plenary Session, CEOs' approved the conclusions of the EU-Africa Business Summit, built on the "Accra conclusions".

Business leaders' conclusions were delivered to the political leaders: President of the African Union, President of the European Union, President of the European Commission and President of the African Union Commission, during the Second Political EU-Africa Summit that took place on the following day.

The Business Summit was organized by the Portuguese Industrial Association - Business Confederation (AIP-CE), the Confederation of Portuguese Industries (CIP), BUSINESSEUROPE, and the PAN AFRICAN Employers Confederation, in cooperation with the European International Contractors and the Portuguese Civil Construction and Public Works Industrial Federation, with the contribution of the EU-Africa Business Forum and with the high patronage of the EU Portuguese Presidency and the European Commission.
 
Background:
 
The historic first EU-Africa Summit was held in Cairo in 2000, under the Portuguese Presidency. The Cairo Declaration and the Cairo Plan of Action signed at this Summit contained a number of ambitious commitments. More importantly perhaps, the Cairo Summit set in motion a more structured political dialogue between the EU and Africa, with regular meetings of senior officials and Ministers.

However, the real turning point in the EU-Africa dialogue was the launch, in 2001, of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). Even more important was the creation of the African Union (AU) the following year.

In October 2005, the European Commission adopted its Communication on an EU Africa Strategy. Two months later the European Council endorsed many of the proposals made in the Communication and adopted a first common, coherent and comprehensive EU Africa Strategy subtitled Towards a Strategic Partnership. The aim of this EU Strategy was to establish a single framework for all EU players and confirm Africa's development as one of the EU's top political priorities.

Working on all three levels of the partnership - national, regional and pan-African - the Strategy was based on three central assumptions:
  • without good governance, rule of law, security and peace, no lasting development progress is possible;
  • regional integration, trade and interconnectivity are necessary factors to promote economic growth;
  • if Africa is to achieve the MDGs, more support is needed on issues with a direct impact on living standards, such as health, education and food security

The Commission's Communication From Cairo to Lisbon - The EU-Africa Strategic Partnership, adopted in June 2007, stresses, however, that "if the EU wants to remain a privileged partner and make the most of its relations with Africa, it must be willing to reinforce, and in some areas reinvent, the current relationship - institutionally, politically and culturally. The adoption of the EU's Africa Strategy in 2005 was an important first step but it is now time to move on from a strategy for Africa towards a political partnership with Africa. In 2007, the EU and Africa are therefore working together to strengthen their cooperation at the political level and lay the foundation for a long-term strategic partnership, going beyond development cooperation, beyond Africa, beyond fragmentation and beyond institutions."

At the economic level, the European General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) adopted the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Regulation by qualified majority, at a meeting on 10 December 2007. The Economic Partnership Agreements within the scope of the renegotiation of the Cotonou Economic Partnership Agreement will be important to an improved access to the European Market, as well as to the reinforcement of the essential conditions to private investment in Africa, such as:
  • The introduction of the principle of reciprocity in the new trade scheme to be defined;
  • A clear, transparent market rules and legal security ensuring an improvement of the business environment;
  • A greater dimension of the regional markets by means of strengthening the degree of economic integration between African countries of a given region;
  • A better access to African markets;
  • A coordination of the initiatives of the EU strategy for Africa, with emphasis on the Partnership for infrastructure.